Holiday homes in England to need planning permission under new plans

<span>Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

People who convert homes into short-term holiday lets would require planning permission in tourist hotspots in England under government plans.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has said it will consult on the change as well as whether to give owners the flexibility to let out their home for a maximum number of nights a year without the need for the permission.

The government said it would also hold a consultation on another proposal for a registration scheme for short-term holiday lets.

Airbnb welcomed the government taking forward its plans for the register, but said it wanted to ensure that any changes to the planning system “strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families who let their space to help afford their home and keep pace with rising living costs”.

The communities secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Tourism brings many benefits to our economy, but in too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets.

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“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.”

The government said local authorities could choose not to use the planning controls.

It said the register is being introduced through the levelling up and regeneration bill currently going through parliament, while the planning changes, subject to the outcome of the consultation, would be introduced through secondary legislation later in the year.

Theo Lomas, head of public policy and government relations for northern Europe at Airbnb, said the vast majority of UK hosts share one home and almost four in 10 say the earnings help them afford the rising cost of living.

Lomas added: “Airbnb has long called for a national register for short-term lets and we welcome the government taking this forward. We know that registers are clear and simple for everyday hosts to follow while giving authorities the information they need to regulate effectively.

“We want to work with the government to ensure that any planning interventions are carefully considered, evidence-based, and strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families who let their space to help afford their home and keep pace with rising living costs.”

The plans for a register follow a call for evidence on the issue for a consultation to be carried out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, said: “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.”