Do Short-Term Holiday Lets Need Planning Permission?

There is no one size fits all answer, unfortunately. If the use of a property is changing for example from residential to short-term let, it will usually require a change of use planning application.

The regulations on short-term holiday lets vary depending on whether it is your main residence or not. If the property in question is your main residence, there is no need for planning permission to let it out on a short-term basis. However, if the property is not your main residence and you are letting it out for short-term holiday lets, you may need to obtain planning permission from your local authority.

When do short-term holiday lets need planning permission?

If changing from residential to short-term holiday let, planning permission may be required, as changes of use are assessed on a scale of fact and degree’. Sometimes, this change of use can be Permitted Development, but that depends on the intensity, frequency and nature of the short-term let use. For instance, planning permission will likely be required where your property is let for more than 90 nights in accordance with the regulations set by the parliament.

It also depends on whether there are any constraints that may have removed the Permitted Development rights at the site address.

It is illegal to let your property for more than 90 nights per year or if you are not the person who pays the council tax for the property without first getting planning permission. Fines for planning breaches and enforcement notice action increased from £20,000 to an unlimited amount.

Approximately 15-20% of the planning applications we do at Planning By Design are retrospective and 99% of these are people who were sure what they were doing would be Permitted Development but got it wrong.

What is a Change of Use?

When the use of a property is changing, for example from a residential home to a commercial holiday let, a planning application for a change of use to short term let is usually required. This is to enable planning authorities to control the balance of different types of property within the area.

For example, if there is an excess of holiday lets and a shortage of residential properties for people to live in, the planning policies may be adjusted to increase the number of homes rather than holiday lets, thus levelling up the availability of housing for residents.

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a dwelling or building so that it, or any part of it, is used for a purpose for which it was not used before.

For example, where a dwellinghouse (or part thereof) is being used as a business, the use of a dwellinghouse. In some circumstances, this can apply to short-term lets and planning permission may therefore be required for the change of use.

Advice should therefore be sought from a suitably qualified Town Planner, or your local Council to advise accordingly on your development plan.

What Change of Use Can be Permitted Development?

There is an extensive list of Changes of Use allowed under new permitted development rights, both within the same Use Class and between different Use Classes. Planning changes can be made easier with these new permitted development rights.

However, the majority of these are subject to detailed conditions and/or require applications for alternative permissions, such as Prior Notifications. In many cases, it is permitted development to provide a property as holiday accommodation for short-term let for less than 90 days in any one calendar year, making it a viable option for those looking for short-term rental opportunities.

However, even where Permitted Development Rights appear to allow a particular Change of Use such as this, it is important to remember that each council reserves the right to withdraw PD rights, in full or in part, under an ‘Article 4 Direction’. This is why it is important to be aware of planning controls in your area, including those in England.

It is therefore advisable to seek advice from an RTPI Chartered Town Planner to check whether permitted development rights are applicable to your site and project, or whether an application to change the planning use class will be required.

What constraints could limit or remove your Permitted Development rights?

There are many constraints that can remove permitted development rights, including previous developments and policy changes. The most common is Article 4 direction, which can be introduced by a council at any time, at their discretion. It is important to note that Article 4 direction has a statutory definition, which means that it is legally binding and must be followed by all parties involved.

Other common examples include, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and listed buildings but even living under a flight path can remove permitted development rights.

Additionally, only houses have Permitted Development rights, flats, and commercial properties do not have any permitted development rights.

It’s also the case that permitted development rights are limited and depending on what previous developments have already taken, some or all the permitted development allowance at the site address may have previously been used up, meaning permission could be required.

Something which most people are unaware of is that even if what they want to do is permitted development at the time, the council can impose new constraints at any time in the future, risking retrospective issues or enforcement action.

In order to protect against this, for anything that is likely to be permitted development it is advised to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate as this is the only way to obtain a legal determination that it is permitted development, and lawful.

A Lawful Development Certificate or Certificate of Lawful Use, is usually required when selling or re-mortgaging a property, but most importantly it protects against retrospective planning issues and enforcement action.

Have the rules and planning policies changed?

Yes, something that most people don’t know is that planning policies are always changing as supply and demand change. So, for example, if there is a shortage of holiday lets, the rules may be relaxed to encourage more. On the flip side at the moment there is a shortage of homes for people to live in, because there is an oversupply of holiday lets, many of which are illegally being rented out without the required planning permission. 

What is the government consultation on short-term lets?

Short-term holiday lets, such as Airbnb rentals, may require planning permission depending on the specific circumstances of the property and location. Local councils are responsible for enforcing planning regulations, and they may require hosts to obtain permission before renting out their properties.

This is because short-term accommodation can have an impact on the availability of affordable housing for local residents. The government is currently exploring ways to regulate short-term rentals to ensure that they do not negatively impact local communities, while still supporting the visitor economy.

It is important for hosts to check with their local council to determine if permission is required before listing their property on short-term rental platforms.

Specifically for short-term holiday lets, there is an ongoing government consultation taking place to make the rules and policies much stricter. Once this is complete the plan is to roll out Article 4 Direction to many more areas in the UK, this will remove Permitted Development rights in these areas. It will also make it much more difficult to get planning permission approved for a change of use to a short-term holiday let.

This article by the BBC summarises the details quite nicely: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-65258629

We have already seen a huge increase in enforcement cases for people who have been found in breach of planning law for short-term holiday lets, and this will only increase further. With most planning authorities already backlogged we anticipate much longer delays for planning applications when the rollout of Article 4 takes place. 

AirBnb tax crackdown: HMRC handed owners’ income data

The growing popularity of Airbnb and other short-term holiday lets has raised the question of whether or not they need planning permission. In most cases, homeowners do not need planning permission to rent out their homes for short periods, as long as they meet certain criteria. However, regulations can vary depending on the location and type of property.

Recently, there has also been a tax crackdown by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on owners who have not declared income from renting out their properties on platforms like Airbnb. As a result, HMRC has been handed access to owners’ income data in an effort to crack down on tax evasion.

What would be required for a change of use planning application?

There isn’t a one size fits all answer to this question as it depends on many factors such as which type of application, which drawings are required, what supporting evidence is required, what specialist reports are required and whether there are any constraints.

You can read more about what is typically required as a minimum for any planning application here.

You can also see an example of an Approved Retrospective Planning Application for a short-term holiday let.

To get a free instant estimate for your project, you can use our Cost Calculator but please bear in mind this does not mean your project is feasible and if anything above the minimum is required this will be at additional cost.

If you would like to find out what exactly your project would require and whether it is feasible, please Contact Us for a free no-obligation consultation.

For those looking to rent out their homes for short-term holiday stays, it’s important to understand the regulations surrounding planning permission. In most cases, homeowners do not need permission for temporary rentals, thanks to the Permitted Development rights. These rights allow homeowners to use their property for short periods without

Do you need advice for Short-Term Holiday Letting Accommodation?

Planning permission is not always required for short-term holiday lets, thanks to Permitted Development rights. However, it’s essential to meet certain criteria to qualify for these rights. The requirements for a change of use planning application can vary depending on various factors such as the type of application, necessary drawings, supporting evidence, specialist reports, and any constraints.

To get a better understanding of what is typically required for a planning application, you can refer to our website. We also provide examples of approved retrospective planning applications for short-term holiday lets in our portfolio. If you’re interested in knowing the specific requirements and feasibility for a property that you currently rent out or are considering letting out you can Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.

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