Introduction of New Controls on Holiday Lets Announced


The UK government has announced new regulations on holiday rentals in England, set to be implemented from the summer. The changes are aimed at preventing locals from being priced out of their own communities. The new rules will require homeowners to seek council permission to convert their properties into short-term rentals. A mandatory national registration scheme will also be introduced. The regulations will not apply to those renting out their main home for less than 90 nights a year, or to hotels, hostels, and B&Bs.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities stated that councils will have the power to demand planning permission for properties to be converted into short-term rentals if necessary. Existing short-term rentals will be automatically reclassified and will not require planning permission.

The government hopes that these changes will make housing more affordable in areas with a high number of short-term rentals, preventing the “hollowing out” of communities. The national register will provide local councils with information about short-term rentals in their area, helping them understand their impact on communities and ensure compliance with health and safety regulations.

Airbnb welcomed the changes, stating that they would provide clear rules for hosts and give local authorities the necessary information to manage housing impacts and maintain healthy communities. However, campaign group Generation Rent expressed doubts about the enforceability of the changes to the planning system.

The number of holiday rentals in England increased by 40% between 2018 and 2021, particularly in tourist hotspots like Scarborough and North Devon. MPs from popular holiday destinations have previously called for stronger regulation due to the impact of short-term rentals on local housing affordability. Critics of the proposals, however, have labelled them as “anti-business”.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove stated that the changes aim to balance the needs of the tourism economy with those of local communities.

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