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Airbnbs to need planning consent and compulsory registration - government

New rules making it tougher for people to let houses via AirBnb and other short let platforms have been unveiled by the Government.

A consultation document published today by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities proposes the requirement of planning consent for an existing home to start to be used as a short let.

It will also consider another option - whether to give owners flexibility to let their home for up to a specified number of nights in a calendar year without the need for planning permission.


Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the planning changes would be introduced through secondary legislation later in the year and would apply in England only.

The government says it “wants to ensure the country reaps the benefits of diverse and sustainable accommodation and support the visitor economy, while also protecting local communities and ensuring the availability of affordable housing to rent or buy.”

The proposed planning changes would see a planning use class created for short term lets not used as a sole or main home, alongside new permitted development rights, which will mean planning permission is not needed in areas where local authorities choose not to use these planning controls.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “In too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets.

“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 new proposals come as the Department for Culture Media and Sport also launches a separate consultation on a new registration scheme for short lets.

The scheme aims to “build a picture of how many short-term lets there are and where they are located, to help understand the impact of short-term lets on communities.”

There has been broad support for a registration scheme across the short lets sector. 

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer comments:

“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.

“The government wants to help areas get the balance right, and today we have an incomplete picture of the size and spread of our short term lets market. This consultation on a national registration scheme will give us the data we need to assess the position and enable us to address the concerns communities face.”

The government claims to have listened to calls from local people in tourist hotspots that they are priced out of homes to rent or to buy and need housing that is more affordable so they can continue to work and live in the place they call home. 

The register of short term lets is being introduced through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

The planning changes and the register apply only to residential properties and will not impact on hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

A link to the consultation on change of use classes is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introduction-of-a-use-class-for-short-term-lets-and-associated-permitted-development-rights

And a link to the consultation on a new holiday let registration scheme is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-a-registration-scheme-for-short-term-lets-in-england

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    Michael Gove causes trouble and problems where ever he goes. What stupid community keeps voting him in?


    Surrey Heath (NW Surrey)
    According to the British Election Study, it was the most right-wing seat in the UK as of 2014.
    70% of homes were detached or semi-detached at the 2011 census. The detached percentage (45.2%) was at that time the second highest in the South East, behind the New Forest. The area is well connected to London Heathrow Airport, IT, telecommunications and logistics centres of the M3 and M4 corridors, and to the military towns of Aldershot and Sandhurst. Farnborough, with its civil, private aviation base with certain military uses, is also nearby, as is Blackbushe Airport.
    Workless claimants, registered jobseekers, were in November 2012 significantly lower than the national average of 3.8%, at 1.7% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian.

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    Scrap Section 24 and retain Section 21 and watch hundreds of thousands of Airbnb properties return to the standard long term rental market.

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    When is Rishi Sunak going to realise his grave error of judgment with the re-appointment of the sacked Housing Secretary Mr Michael Gove.
    The root cause of most housing problems causing hundreds of landlords to sell up or switch to air Airbnb making that a boom industry because of his unfairer renting Policy with Removal of Section 21.
    He now has to attack AirBnB to prevent that from being
    Mr Gove is a key player in the causes of homelessness and should go and bring Mr Sadiq Khan with him, both crippling the economy making peoples lives miserable.

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    If Section 21 and short lets are abolished then that does NOT mean that landlords will be prepared to hand their properties over for life to sitting tenants. That is simply not an option for most landlords.

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    This was always on the cards, landlords are akin to rats in a sinking ship 🚢, looking for any safe place… Gove is there to block our escape route. They want RID of the PRS 😳

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    Another consultation- this government never seem to actually do anything apart from consultation and survey! This was also announced a year ago ☹️

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    Absolutely hilarious. They deliberately and proactively say they want to put the rental sector out of business, do all they can to achieve that, then claim to be concerned that there’s nowhere for locals to rent! They treat Airbnb differently because they think of it as ‘a proper business’ then get all worked up about property owners becoming that proper business! Next they’ll say it’s compulsory to gift your rental home to the tenant but be baffled why so many landlords no longer pay income tax! Moronic idiocy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

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    We already have this in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿... Along with rent increase bans and eviction bans... I can't wait to sell the lot!

  • Matthew Payne

    I wonder whether this is smoke and mirrors to force all these properties back into the long let market where government perhaps now recognise there is a shortfall of the odd property or two??


    It is smoke and mirrors to seem like they are doing something. They just want votes in the 4th May elections!

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    Surely it won't be retrospective, in which case I'd call it shutting the stable door after the horse has long since bolted!!


    No reason it can't or won't be retrospective as outlawing 3 unrelated adults from living together in an unlicensed property was retrospective.

    For once I agree with Gove as short term rental properties pose more of a risk to both residents (unfamiliar with the property and more likely to be inebriated than longer term residents) and neighbours who are at risk of constant disruption to their normal lives.

    A couple running an Airbnb property can earn over £30k tax free (twice £12570 plus £7500) whereas a private landlord with a high btl mortgage providing a long term home can make a loss and still be liable for income tax in this country.

    That same couple can use this tax free income to buy a much larger principal home and sell it free of capital gains tax, whereas the private landlord is taxed on inflation when selling up.

    More regulation of Short term rental properties will help properly run hospitality businesses operate on a level playing field, ensure safety of renters and reduce tax evasion by those Airbnb operators currently trying to stay under the radar.

  • George Dawes


    They're a blooming nuisance where I live


    Yep totally with u -George. About bl oo dy time.

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    John Chart ruminates:

    ........and how are hard-pressed and under-staffed local authority planning depts going to cope
    with the expected flood of planning applications?

    One solution - a fat fee for grant of PP using the S106 process - including council legal fees!

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    To be honest I never really understood why planning permission wasn't required as its essentially a change of use from a residential property to a commercial one. After all small BnBs, Guest houses are registered and have fire regulations etc to adhere to , personally I thought the whole short term letting idea was a bit of a scam and it was fuelled by the governments own ridiculous tax regulations.
    I think they have called this one right and I very rarely think that


    Yes you are quite right, just seems a bit late as might be difficult to apply it retrospectively.

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    For JRM’s take on this (and a ‘proper conservative take it is too), go to Twitter(dot com) then… /gbnews/status/1646595667458945026?s=42&t=stalEbZlyLkn3F2tdq7aDQ


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