Holiday lets set to require planning permission
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, yesterday unveiled proposals that would see planning permission for an existing home to start to be used as a short term let,
His department also revealed that it would be looking into how owners can be given flexibility to let out their home for a maximum number of nights a year without the need for the permission.
The Government will consult on both proposals over the coming weeks to stop residents being “pushed out of cherished towns”.
Separately the Department for Culture will consult on a registration scheme for holiday lets, which was welcomed by Airbnb.
The company added that it wanted to ensure 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”.
Mr 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.
“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.”
It comes after a report found that landlords are evicting tenants and switching to Airbnbs and holiday lets because it is more profitable.
Research by Scarborough council found the number of private rental properties available in the town centre had fallen from an average of 25 homes in 2017 to six in 2022, while the number of holiday lets dramatically increased.
Last year North Yorkshire became the country’s first area to adopt a mandatory 100 per cent council tax premium for second homes as part of efforts to tackle the housing crisis.
Yesterday the Prime Minister was criticised by Labour after he suggested that he scrapped mandatory housing targets, meant to help solve the housing crisis, because it was unpopular with Tory members.
Rishi Sunak told ConservativeHome in an interview: “I spent a lot of the time over the summer when I was talking to so many of our members, so many of our councillors, about our planning system and their views on it.
“What I heard, consistently, particularly from our councillors and our members, was what they didn’t want was a nationally-imposed, top down set of targets imposed telling them what to do.”
Last year he caved in to pressure to make the target of building 300,000 homes a year in England advisory rather than mandatory.
Mr Sunak told ConservativeHome the opposition within the party went further than just backbench MPs whose threatened revolt led to the change.
Lisa Nandy, Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary, said: “It is utterly shameful that the Prime Minister admits he ditched housing targets because he’s too weak to stand up to Tory members.
“That decision has pushed housebuilding off a cliff and exacerbated a housing crisis that was already causing misery for millions of families and young people, but Rishi Sunak clearly thinks that’s all ok because a few thousand Tory members are happy.
“We need a Prime Minister that puts our country before his party.”