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Graham Awards


Short Lets Shake Up - Gove slammed for “political posturing”

The trade body representing short lets providers and support companies has reacted angrily to government proposals for a radical shake up.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has this morning proposed that planning permission will be required for future short-term lets; that there will be a mandatory national register; and that existing homeowners can continue to let out their own main or sole home for only 90 nights a year - any more and they will require planning consent.

The rules apply only to the short lets sector involving homeowners and small-scale landlords - not traditional bed and breakfasts or hotels, for example.


Andy Fenner, chief executive of the trade group the Short Term Accommodation Association, says: “We’ve been calling for a registration scheme for years, so it’s disappointing that when it finally arrives it completely fails to address the challenges the country is facing. 

“The registration scheme could have been game changing for tourism in England had it covered all types of accommodation but, instead, what we’ve got is a missed opportunity that’s a half-way house at best. Had it been that comprehensive, politicians up and down the country would have been able to make well-informed decisions on planning. 

“They’d have been able to see exactly how the tourist industry functioned in their local area, which is important because a one-size-fits-all approach that achieves the right balance in one place would crush the tourism in another. 

“Instead, the holiday let industry is doomed to continue being unfairly regarded as tourism's problem child, second-best to hotels, and unjustly taking the brunt of the blame game surrounding housing supply and affordability, despite the lack of a proper evidence base. The presumption is that, if you shut down all short term rentals tomorrow, the housing crisis would be solved but that is naive in the extreme. 

“The holiday let industry is not responsible for the housing crisis. Its causes run far deeper than that and are centred mainly on a lack of housebuilding and the abandoning of housing targets. 

“Short term lets are the modern, dynamic face of the tourism industry and we can’t force people into B&Bs and hotels through legislation. If we did, UK tourism would suffer as people voted with their feet and went elsewhere. The world has moved on, and many tourists don’t want to settle for that any more. 

"Restrictions in the number of short term rentals need to be measured against other important factors, such as employment, housing supply, housing need, and changes in the stock of other tourist accommodation. We will continue to call for a comprehensive registration scheme that includes all types of accommodation. 

“Without this, the new powers councils are winning, which will allow them to rein in holiday lets using an effective veto on permitted development rights, will be prone to misuse and political posturing rather than a desire to do what is in the best interests of local communities.”


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