The government is introducing a new short-term/holiday let registration scheme and is also consulting on making changes to the planning rules that could result in house owners requiring planning permission to operate a short-term or holiday let. The rapid rise in short-term letting has had a negative impact on the availability and affordability of local rental housing and has increased house prices, particularly in the South West and London.
A new 'Consultation on a registration scheme for short-term lets in England' reveals the government's options for the introduction of a new registration system for short-term lets. Following A call for evidence last year and an analysis of almost 4,000 responses, it has decided on a 'light touch' registration scheme to be operated either by local authorities or the Tourist Office.
The government notes that there were approximately 257,000 short-term and holiday letting listings in England in 2022, 62% of these are concentrated in the South West (28%), London (17%) and South East (17%). Analysis of call for evidence responses found that, on average, hosts listed 1-2 properties and earned £5,000-£6,000 a year, and that the industry operated in its own ecosystem of support services ranging from online booking services and management to cleaning and maintenance. Previous analysis of Airbnbs in London in 2019 found that 6% of hosts owned or operated three or more short-term lets, but accounted for 31% of active listings.
The new planning consultation, 'Introduction of a use class for short term lets and associated permitted development rights' covers the following areas:
- The introduction of a new use class for short-term lets.
- The potential introduction of a new permitted development right for the change of use from a dwellinghouse to a short-term let.
- The potential introduction of a new permitted development right for the change of use from a short-term let to a dwellinghouse.
- How flexibility for homeowners to let out their home for up to 30 nights in a calendar year could be provided through either change to the dwellinghouse use class or an additional permitted development right.
- The introduction of a planning application fee for the development of new build short-term lets.
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