Local residents will be protected from being pushed out of their communities by excessive short-term lets thanks to changes in planning rules announced today.

Under the reforms councils will be given greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process.

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 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.

Meanwhile, a new mandatory national register will give local authorities the information they need about short-term lets in their area. This will help councils understand the extent of short-term lets in their area, the effects on their communities, and underpin compliance with key health and safety regulations.

Short-term lets are now a significant part of the UK’s visitor economy, and can provide increased choice and flexibility for tourists and business travellers. To recognise this, homeowners will still be able to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights throughout a year without planning permission and Government is considering how to apply the register so it does not apply disproportionate regulation for example on property owners that let out their home infrequently.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, Michael Gove said:

These changes will ensure people have more control over housing in their cherished communities.

We know short-term lets can be helpful for the tourist economy, but we are now giving councils the tools to bring them under control so that local people can rent those homes as well.

These changes strike a balance between giving local people access to more affordable housing, while ensuring the visitor economy continues to flourish.

Tourism Minister Julia Lopez said:

Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area.

The Government is committed to getting the balance right to ensure both local people and our visitor economy can thrive.

Amanda Cupples, General Manager for Northern Europe, Airbnb said: 

The introduction of a short-term lets register is good news for everyone. Families who Host on Airbnb will benefit from clear rules that support their activity, and local authorities will get access to the information they need to assess and manage housing impacts and keep communities healthy, where necessary.

We have long led calls for the introduction of a Host register and we look forward to working together to make it a success.

The proposed planning changes would see a new planning ‘use class’ created for short-term lets not used as a sole or main home. Existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically be reclassified into the new use class and will not require a planning application.

The changes are part of the Government’s long-term plan for housing, unlocking more of the homes this country needs and meeting the target to deliver one million homes this Parliament, backed by £10 billion investment.

The Government says it also intends to introduce associated permitted development rights – one allowing for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, and a second that would allow a property to be changed to a short-term let. Local authorities would be able to remove these permissions and require full planning permission if they deem it necessary.

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

Further details of these measures will be set out in the Government’s response to the consultations, including the timeline for implementation of the register, the use class and the individual permitted development rights – with the changes being introduced from this summer.

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