New Planning Proposals Target Airbnb and Holiday Lets

A new planning proposal could see homeowners required to seek planning permission for short-term lets and associated permitted development rights…

New Use Class for Short Term Lets

New proposals could require existing homeowners to seek permission to use their properties as short-term lets and introduce a new class – a C5 short term let – into the planning arena.

The proposal has been sparked following housing issues in holiday hotspots, where local people have found it hard to find affordable rental accommodation due to a proliferation of Airbnb and short-term lets aimed at tourists.

Announcing the proposals, Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, said that while the government wanted to support the tourism industry, it also had to protect ‘desperate’ families:

“Tourism brings many benefits to our economy but in too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets’’ he said.

“I’m determined that we ensure that more people have access to local homes at affordable prices, and that we prioritise families desperate to rent or buy a home of their own close to where they work.

“I have listened to representations from MPs in tourist hot spots and am pleased to launch this consultation to introduce a requirement for planning permissions for short-term lets.’’

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is currently consulting on the proposals, which also include a suggestion that would offer homeowners a flexible option that would allow them to let out their property for a specific number of nights without the need to apply for planning permission. Whether that would be a total of anything from 30 to 90 nights is being discussed during the consultation.

Introduction of New Use Class

It would also introduce a new class within the planning system – a C5 short term let – allowing local authorities to consider applications for the building of new short-term lets.

If it comes into effect, owners of existing properties would not have to re-apply for permission, but their properties would fall under the new class.

It would allow for the change of a residential house into a short-term let but would offer local authorities the opportunity to revoke the permitted rights (under an Article 4 directive) in areas where there is ‘evidence of a local issue’.

New Registration Scheme

Meanwhile, the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) is consulting on a new registration scheme for short-term lets.

The consultation aims to gain an understanding of what impact short-term lets have on communities, with the aim of bringing in a registration scheme for short-term lets. The register, if it goes ahead, would be included in the levelling up and regeneration bill, with its aim to allow more flexibility in areas where short-term lets do not impact on the community, and less where it does – in areas such as national parks, coastal areas and other tourist hotspots.

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer said: “This new world of ultra-flexible short-term lets gives tourists more choice than ever before, but it should not come at the expense of local people being able to own their own home and stay local.’’

Both consultations close on 7 June.

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