Airbnb hosts could need planning permission under new laws to tackle holiday lets



Much has been made about Airbnb hosts needing planning permission under potential new laws to tackle holiday lets in ‘squeezed’ property areas but the current planning system already controls holiday lets, albeit with some areas of confusion

Renting out rooms within an existing household doesn’t require planning permission if the practice doesn’t change the character of the property as a residential dwelling.

Boiling it down: renting out 1 room is fine, whereas, say renting out 3 out of 4 bedrooms in a property may need planning permission.

Permission is required when there is a change of use from a residential dwelling to a holiday let for short term occupation.

In contrast, long term rental of a property sees that property remain as a dwelling and it is not classified as a holiday let.

Some local authorities will have specific policies or interpretations as to the definition of a long term rental based on the number of days for which it is let – be that the 30, 60 or 90 days referenced in media coverage of the latest thinking of the DLUHC on the matter.

The coverage has been confusing because it is actually whether the property is rented out for fewer than 30, 60 or 90 days that would trigger the definition of change from residential dwelling to holiday let.

It’s important not to confuse policy with legislation, however. As it stands, the definition of a ‘holiday let’ is often down to case law in areas where it is challenged

The Government's intended clarification of policy would certainly provide a helpful 'level playing field' through an agreed definition.

As ever, the devil will be in the detail. However, controlling the extent of holiday lets could only ever be a partial solution to the more chronic shortage of all types of accommodation. Regulation needs to be balanced with facilitation.

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