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Significant Changes to Short-term Lets on the Horizon

Following his pledge to abolish Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions before next general election, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has announced more planned changes to the private rental sector, this time setting his sights on the short-let market.

In a press release by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities this morning, proposed changes to planning were announced which will affect short-term and holiday lets by requiring registration.

The outlined changes require planning permission to be obtained for future short-term lets, and the registration of short-let properties onto a national register.

These suggested changes would be met with a new planning use class, dedicated solely to short-term lets, which means they are not to be used as a primary residence.

Desired effects

By granting local authorities the discretion to grant planning applications to a short-term let, it is intended that this will “support local people in areas where high numbers of short-term lets are preventing them from finding housing they can afford to buy or to rent.”

These reforms are intended to grant local authorities a clearer picture on the residential property types in their constituency and inform their decisions to control the growth of short-term lets.

The document was delivered in accordance with a long-term dedication to deter a “hollowing out of communities”, ensuring stabilised housing to local residents and the addressal of anti-social behaviour.

How will current short-term lets be affected?

The statement clarifies that “existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically be reclassified into the new use class and will not require a planning application”.

The plans also state that homeowners may continue to let out their main residence for up to 90 nights per year without having to obtain planning permission.

The Government aims to introduce permitted development rights alongside these changes which will allow for the transition of a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, and vice versa – This would also enable local authorities to remove such permissions if deemed necessary.

Official statements

Housing Secretary Michael Gove supported this press release by stating:

“In some areas, too many local families and young people feel they are being shut out of the housing market and denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community.

So the Government is taking action as part of its long-term plan for housing. That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places and giving communities the power to decide.

This will allow local communities to take back control and strike the right balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people get the homes they need.”

These proposed changes (including the planning changes and register) are focussed entirely on short-term lets, and as such would not apply to hotels, hostels, or B&Bs.

More information

Further information regarding this statement and the proposed changes will be realised in the Government’s response to the consultations, with the above changes being introduced “from this summer”.

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