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What do new short let rules mean for investors?

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is changing the rules governing Airbnb-type lettings by requiring planning permission for properties let for more than 90 days per year, introducing a mandatory national register of short term lets and giving councils greater powers to control short-term lets.

Homeowners are still able to let out property for up to 90 nights per annum without planning permission but if they wish to exceed the 90 nights, they will need to specify the use of the property as a short term let and apply for planning permission under permitted development rights.

Simon Barry of planning consultancy Boyer comments: “Following this announcement many people who let their main or secondary properties via Airbnb or similar platforms will be unsure of the process required to meet new requirements.


“It is understood that homeowners are allowed to let their main or sole home for up to 90 nights throughout a year without requiring planning permission. However, proposed planning changes would see the introduction of a ‘C5 short term let use class’ created in England for those short-term lets not used as a sole or main home. 

“This would relate to new-build short-term let developments and proposes to grant permissions with conditions that the new use class should apply to them.

“Existing dedicated short-term lets will automatically be reclassified into the new use class and will not require a planning application.

“The  new Permitted Development Rights will allow for the change of use from a ‘residential dwellinghouse’ to a short term let and vice versa. However, where local authorities deem there to be an issue, they may use the new mandatory national register and new powers to remove the permitted development rights via an Article 4 Direction. 

“That said, councils will have to be able to demonstrate clearly a very small geographical area with any issue with short-term lets in order to apply the Direction.

“These measures only concern short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

“There are around 450,000 short lets in the UK and so hundreds of thousands of landlords will be affected by this change.”


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