Holiday lettings - Do I need planning permission?
24th April 2023
24th April 2023
We all know about AirB&B, Booking.com and the many other providers out there for renting a house or flat for a week or weekend away, and what great inventions they are. However, for those managing estates and blocks of apartments the whole issue of short term lettings use can be something of a bind because not all property owners realise that sometimes the property that they own cannot be used for such a purpose - see our articles here, here and here on how the lease/transfers might prohibit such use and what the Landlord/RMC/RTM Company should do to enforce any breach of those provisions.
Assuming though that there is nothing in the lease or transfer of a property that will preclude the property owner from using the same for short term lettings, then are there other concerns for the property owner to consider?
The short answer is “Yes” or, at least, depending on the location of the property, there will be in the future so watch this space.
The issue is planning permission.
Presently, there is a divide between those properties within Great London and anywhere else in England (note that this article does not apply to property in Wales).
Properties within Great London
If you own a property in Greater London then, by virtue of the s.44 Deregulation Act 2015 amendment to s.25 The Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973, a property can be let out for up to 90 nights in a calendar year without issue. However, if the property is let for more than the statutory maximum of 90 nights, planning permission is required for what is a change of permitted use under planning legislation. So far as we are aware that position is unlikely to be amended by the following proposals.
Properties outside of Greater London
This covers not only London but the rest of England (not Wales).
Currently, for property outside of Greater London, there are no similar restrictions to those applying inside Greater London as above. That is, it appears, about to change. The Government has released two consultation papers which will run between 12 April 2023 to midday on 7 June 2023 on the issue of properties used for short term lettings and registration of the same.
The first Consultation Paper is on the introduction of a new planning use class for properties used for short-term lettings. Presently, dwelling houses have a use class of C3. The proposal is that a new class - C5 - is to be created for property let other than on a standard tenancy. The definition for the proposed class is set out in the consultation papers 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.”
It seems that the intention is that changing the use of a property from C3 to C5, or back from C5 to C3, will be dealt with under general permitted development rights where that use is generally not likely to have an unacceptable impact on the area. However, it is further proposed that a local authority can remove that permitted development right by making an Article 4 direction requiring a planning application to be made for the change of use or, perhaps, restrict the length of time in any year that the property can be used other than as the owner’s home - say 90 days as is the case for properties in Greater London. An Article 4 direction is perhaps likely only to be used where the change is from residential use, C3, to a property used for holiday letting for at least part of the year,C5, and perhaps in areas like Cornwall and other typical holidaying areas where ‘second home’ ownership has an adverse impact on the locals in such matters as housing and facilities.
The second Consultation Paper is about whether and how local authorities should monitor whether a property is being used as a main home, second home or for short term lettings.
The proposal is that there be a register of use of property - not just short-term lets. Local authorities can then monitor the use of property in their area and, based upon the perceived/evidenced impact of that, consider whether or not to make an Article 4 direction to enable the implementation of procedures to restrict use and ensure compliance with the registration scheme.
We have attached links to each Consultation Paper above (click the highlighted text above) for those interested in providing responses to the consultation.
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