New Planning Controls on Short-Term Lets

Legislation Update
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The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced proposed changes to short-term lets in England, which should come into effect from this summer. As part of these changes, people may be required to apply for planning permission from their local authority to turn their home into a short-term let. The rules will not apply to people renting out their main home for less than 90 nights a year.

The announcement follows on from the Government’s consultation, launched in April 2023, in respect of changes to planning measures that would help local areas have greater ability to control any future increase in the number of short-term lets in their area and support the retention of existing properties to buy or to rent.

The proposed planning changes would see a new planning ‘use class’ in England – Use Class C5 ‘short term let’ –for future short-term lets that are not used as a sole or main home. Under proposed Use Class C5, a short-term let can be defined as the “use of a dwellinghouse that is not a sole or main residence for temporary sleeping accommodation for the purpose of holiday, leisure, recreation, business or other travel”.

Existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically be reclassified into the new use class and will not require a planning application.

The Government also intends to introduce associated permitted development rights – one allowing for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a residential dwelling, and a second that would allow a residential dwelling to be changed to a short-term let. There are currently no further details on the wording of these permitted development rights, however, local planning authorities would be able to remove these permitted development rights through the implementation of Article 4 Directions in areas where there is already an abundance of short-term lets.

In addition, a new mandatory national register will be introduced which will allow local authorities to keep track of the number and distribution of short-term lets across England.

The proposed measures are focussed on short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

Calls have previously been made by MPs representing popular holiday destinations, such as Cornwall, the Lake District and Norfolk, for stronger regulations around short-term lets on the basis that the increased numbers of these have resulted in difficulties for local people finding an affordable place to live within their communities.

In a statement, DLUHC said that “These changes are part of a long-term plan to prevent a ‘hollowing out’ of communities, address anti-social behaviour and ensure local people can continue to live in the place they call home”.

Under the reforms, Councils will be given greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process. This should allow local communities to “take back control and find the right balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people get the homes they need”.

DLUHC said that further details on the measures will be set out in the Government’s responses to the consultations, which are due to be published this summer. In addition, this would include the timeline for implementation of the register, the new use class and the proposed permitted development rights. These changes are proposed to be introduced from this summer.


Article prepared by Raveen Bhamra

Raveen Firstplan