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How the Government Plans to Regulate Short-Term Lets: Key Points from Latest Requirements

Updated: Feb 24

The UK government has recently introduced significant changes to short-term letting rules in order to safeguard communities and maintain housing availability for local residents.


Local residents in England will now be better protected from being pushed out of their communities as a result of excessive short-term lets, due to changes in planning rules. These reforms empower councils to control short-term lets by subjecting them to the planning process. The goal is to address housing affordability issues and prevent a "hollowing out" of communities.


Here are the key points to note:



Planning Permission for Future Short-Term Lets: Councils now have increased authority to regulate short-term lets through the planning process. This change aims to assist local residents in areas where excessive short-term rentals hinder access to affordable housing.

 

New Planning “Use Class” C5: A distinct planning category, C5, has been established specifically for short-term lets that are not the primary residence. These properties serve as temporary sleeping accommodations for purposes such as holidays, leisure, business, or travel. Existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically fall under this new Use Class without requiring additional planning applications.

 

Permitted Development Rights: Two associated permitted development rights have been introduced: one allows conversion from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, and the other permits conversion to a short-term let. Local authorities can revoke these permissions if necessary, requiring full planning approval.

 

Mandatory National Register: A national register will provide local authorities with crucial data on short-term lets within their jurisdiction. This information will help councils assess the impact of such rentals on communities and ensure compliance with safety regulations.


The purpose of this register is to understand the effects of rentals on communities, and provide support to both families and short-term rental hosts.

This initiative reflects a commitment to balance community well-being and the interests of hosts in the rental market.


Homeowners are Exempt: Homeowners can continue to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights a year: If you own a home as your primary residence, you are allowed to let out on short term basis, but only up to 90 days. Airbnb currently enforces this rule through their platform by restricting your ability to extend listing beyond 90 days in London.


Power back to Communities: The primary purpose of the new rule is to protect homes within communities from being used for short-term lets while squeezing out standard renters. As more people convert their second homes for serviced accommodation, or rent to rent in certain communities, homes becomes less available and rent go up. As a result, communities and the Government will now have a say in how many short-term lets can exist in certain communities.


Balancing Visitor Economy and Local Housing Needs: Homeowners can still rent out their primary or sole residence for up to 90 nights annually without planning permission.

As part of a long-term plan for housing, this is expected to strike a balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people have access to affordable homes.

 

In conclusion, the UK government acknowledges the dual significance of short-term lets, supporting the thriving tourism industry while addressing housing challenges faced by local families and young individuals. The recent changes aim to strike a delicate equilibrium by granting local authorities more control over short-term rentals.


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