England: The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published a consultation which proposes to introduce a requirement to obtain planning permissions for short term lets, such as Air BNBs, in tourist hot spots within England.

The DLUHC consultation, which is open until 7th June 2023, explains that an increase in the number of short term holiday lets in certain areas, such as coastal towns, national parks and some cities has impacted upon the availability and affordability of homes to buy or to rent for local people and on the sustainability of communities more broadly. While short term lets can support tourism and the local economy in such areas, the government explain that it is important that this is balanced with meeting the needs of the local community.

Therefore, the government is consulting on new planning measures that empower local councils to have a greater ability to control any future increase in the number of short term lets in their area and support the retention of existing properties to buy or to rent. This would be achieved through a legislative amendment to the Use Classes Order that would introduce a new C5 Use Class for short term lets.

Use Class C5: Short Term Let would be as follows:

“Use of a dwellinghouse that is not a sole or main residence for temporary sleeping accommodation for the purpose of holiday, leisure, recreation, business or other travel.”

When the use class comes into effect existing properties would fall into the short term let use class (referred to as C5) where they met the definition. If they do not meet this definition, they would remain as a C3 dwellinghouse. It is clarified that ‘second homes’ that are additionally let out for part of the year will fall into the new use class.

To run alongside this change, the government are proposing to introduce new permitted development rights to allow a change of use from a C3 dwellinghouse to a C5 short term let and vice versa. This would allow for continued flexibility to use a property as a home or short term let where there is no local issue.
However, where local issues are identified, the permitted development right for the change of use to a short term let can be removed by the local planning authority by the introduction of an Article 4 direction in line with national policy. The government advise that any such Article 4 direction “should apply to the smallest geographical area possible and could therefore be focussed on those areas or streets that see the highest numbers of short term lets, or individual properties”.

In addition to these changes, the government are proposing to introduce changes to the planning system that will provide flexibility for homeowners to let out their homes on a temporary basis for prescribed number of nights per year. This could for instance be where a homeowner is themselves on holiday, or to benefit from where sporting or other events are held locally, or where the owner works away, while retaining its use as a main or sole dwellinghouse.

The DLUHC consultation is currently seeking views on whether this should be for: (i) 30 nights in a calendar year; or (ii). 60 nights in a calendar year; or (iii). 90 nights in a calendar year. It is envisaged that this change will either be delivered through the introduction of new permitted development rights; or by an amendment to the C3 dwellinghouse use class to allow them to be let for up to a defined number of nights in a calendar year.

Given that the DLUHC consultation remains open until June 2023, we anticipate that any changes to the planning system will likely occur in 2024.

If you have any queries about how any of these proposed changes may impact upon your property portfolio why not give us a call on 01202 585524 or send us an email to info@puretownplanning.co.uk and we would be delighted to assist you.