Government planning reforms seek to shape the future of short-term lets

reforms to short term lets

Changes to planning regulations surrounding short-term lets have been unveiled by the government, focused on striking a balance between promoting tourism and ensuring the stability of local communities.

The latest in the government’s many tweaks to the planning system in the run up to the General Election later this year, ushered in by changes to legislation and policy such as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act and the updated NPPF, includes changes to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) which are claimed to give communities greater control over future growth.

What’s changing?

Among the key highlights of this raft of changes to planning rules are:

Local control and planning permission

Short-term lets will be subjected to the planning process, granting local planning authorities (LPAs) enhanced authority to regulate them. This measure seeks to empower communities where an influx of short-term lets has impeded access to affordable housing. By integrating short-term lets into the planning framework, LPAs can proactively address housing concerns while fostering sustainable balance between residential needs and tourism demands within the local area.

Establishing a mandatory national register

The introduction of a mandatory national register will equip LPAs with crucial data to understand the impact of short-term lets on communities. This register will facilitate compliance with health and safety regulations, ensuring accommodation standards are upheld.

Homeowner flexibility

Homeowners will still have the flexibility to let out their primary or sole residence for up to 90 nights a year without requiring planning permission. This balance acknowledges the importance of short-term lets in the tourism economy while safeguarding the interests of local residents.

Government commitment to housing

These reforms align with the government’s long-term plan for housing, aiming to deliver the right homes in the right locations. By empowering communities and promoting responsible tourism, the government aims to address housing shortages and ensure sustainable growth.

Permitted development rights

Associated permitted development rights will allow for the conversion of properties between short-term lets and standard residential dwellings. This flexibility provides an

avenue for adaption while allowing local authorities to intervene when necessary.

Kiran Maher, Solicitor in the Thrings Planning and Environment team, said: “The latest in a string of amendments to planning rules by the government in the run up to an election, these changes could help address the complexities surrounding short-term lets and developers, property and land owners and local planning authorities will all need to ensure they are fully abreast of how things are changing.

“With enhanced local control, the introduction of a new national register and maintained homeowner flexibility, those with or considering short-term lets should ensure they are seeking robust legal advice to ensure their assets are being run in an appropriate manner.”

Thrings’ Planning and Environment lawyers have extensive experience in navigating complex local and national planning policy legislation and has successfully supported commercial and residential applications through the approval and appeal processes. To find out more and for advice on your development proposals, including how to address enforcement notices, please do get in touch.

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