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Government wants national register of short term lets

A review into the effect of short-term lets has been launched by the government. 

The government says future policies could involve physical checks of premises to ensure rules on health and safety, noise and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.

Further measures the government is considering include a registration ‘kitemark’ scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules on issues such as gas safety, a self-certification scheme for hosts to register with before they can operate, and better information or a single source of guidance setting out the legal requirements for providers.


Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston says: “We’ve seen huge growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the last few years.

We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests and making sure England has high-quality tourist accommodation.”

And housing minister Stuart Andrew adds: “Holiday let sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure this doesn’t drive residents out of their communities.

“We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.

“This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”

The government says Airbnb listing data shows a 33 per cent increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 and the rise in the use of online platforms for short-term letting has brought many benefits - from an increase in the variety and availability of options to allowing people to make money from renting out spare rooms and properties.

But the government says it understands there can be an impact on housing supply and price in these areas and there are fears caused by evidence of a rise in anti-social behaviour including noise, waste and drunken behaviour in local communities. Lower protections for guests caused by negligence of health and safety regulations are also amidst concerns.

The review will also consider the operation of the provisions in London under the Deregulation Act 2015 to allow for measures to be taken against anti-social behaviour, whilst allowing Londoners to let out their homes.


The Westminster government’s review brings England in line with the devolved administrations. 

The Scottish government set out legislation requiring all local authorities in the country to establish a licensing scheme by October 2022. In Northern Ireland tourist accommodation cannot be provided without a valid certificate issued by the national tourist board. And Wales has stated its ambition to establish a statutory registration or licensing scheme.

Merilee Karr - who chairs the Short Term Accommodation Association - says: “Short term and holiday rentals play an increasingly important role in the English tourism economy by contributing significant numbers of jobs in local communities and generating valuable sources of income for local homeowners and businesses.

“Any new regulatory solution should recognise this contribution and seek to support the industry as an important part of the wider UK tourism sector.”

Details of the review and call for evidence can be found here.

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    It was always going to happen, landlords have ran to the short term let market due to S24 and other changes, the government don’t like this…..

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    I've never understood why the short term holiday lets have been treated so favourably from a tax point of view and had approximately no requirements from a standards and safety point of view. It has given them massive advantages over both the traditional holiday accommodation industry (hotels and holiday parks) and the traditional property rental industry.
    Someone using their spare room for a bit of B&B may be a useful addition but someone taking multiple whole houses and flats off the long-term rental market and turning them into short term holiday rentals has numerous negative consequences to both the local community and the traditional holiday industry. The fact the government have incentivised short term lets to quite such a degree is bizarre.


    You are right Jo. Although there are regulations for holiday lets but it is not policed so (like in long term letting) there are professional hosts who abide by all the regulations, and less professional ones who don't and use that advantage to undercut the market. I do think that there will be a balancing out though as there is currently massive oversupply of short term accommodation in some areas (Cornwall I know about) so incomes won't necessarily be as good as some expected when they switched from long to short term. It is the unfairness of the tax treatment which is the biggest driver imho.


    Only short term rental properties let for over 105 days qualify for business rate treatment and often get exemption due to the relatively low turnover.

    Short term rental properties let for less than 105 days get hit with full Council Tax even though the rental income is less.

    About 40 years ago when I first got a second home, I paid no Council Tax whilst it was unfurnished and being renovated, then got a 50% reduction which was later reduced to 10% and then totally abolished.

    The lefties now want to fine second home owners 200% of Council Tax
    for being successful in life.

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    If you have worked very hard to buy a second home, then I really don't think that it is fair that you should have to pay double council tax on it. I suppose that it is slightly different if you had notice that that would be the case before you bought it, but to suddenly impose punitive changes on people must be wrong.


    This article was about short term lets not second homes.

    A property used for short term lets usually pays much lower business rates instead of council tax and the mortgage is fully tax deductible. For some inexplicable reason it is treated as a business whereas conventional BTL is treated as an investment with completely different tax treatment.

    A property used as a holiday home for personal use only is a completely different matter.


    You are right that the article was primarily about short lets, but it also said “We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax."

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    Stephen. For me its a red line and a massive problem. Occupy my Property as of a right to the exclusion of all owners rights that he no longer has. As for the Rent they can shove it, landlord since 1978

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    So much so for a bonfire of red tape. The elephant in the room, Immigration, dosent get a mention. Now that foreign holidays have opened up, demand will drop.

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    Edwin- With the issues I have heard about at the airport’s etc I can see Uk holidays staying popular for a while longer.


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