Proposed Law to Regulate Short-Term Holiday Let Market

Short-term landlords are heading for a showdown with 16 MPs determined to push a new law to licence holiday lets through Westminster. 

Led by Labour's Rachael Maskell, the MPs support an early-day motion (EDM) tabled with little publicity in November which calls for the government to allow local councils more powers to control the number of holiday lets.

The MPS want a new law that:

  • Sets basic living and safety standards for short-term lets
  • Allows councils to dictate licence terms
  • Charges a fee to cover the costs of the scheme
  • Restricts the number of holiday lets for the area

However, the EDMs remain undefeated without the government's support, which is so far not forthcoming.

Gove tests planning opinions

Although Maskell has cross-party support, she has no Tories in her ranks, but ministers have launched two recent linked holiday let consultations. Consultations are usually a test of public opinion before a new bill on the topic is announced.

The first consultation is a proposal targeting property owners intending to switch a home to short-term letting.

Currently, owners do not need to apply for planning permission for the change of use, but the government wants to change planning laws.

The reform will allow owners to rent the property as a holiday let for a limited number of nights a year - similar to the 90-day rule enforced on holiday lets in London. Any property rented out as a short-term let after the 90 days in the capital must have planning permission for use by holidaymakers.

Registering a holiday let

Levelling-Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove is championing another consultation calling for a registration scheme in England for holiday lets.

Both consultations are in response to landlords switching homes to short-term lettings in tourist destinations, like cities, national parks and areas of natural beauty.

Property investors like short-term lets because they can make more in some weeks than many buy-to-let homes rent for in a month; however, locals claim holiday lets turn their neighbourhoods into ghost towns in the winter months.

The consultation ends on June 7.

Tougher holiday let laws on the way

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."

Maskell said: “I am determined to see the holiday let laws change. The early day motion and consultations are the first step of the way.”

Holiday let licensing FAQ

What is an early-day motion?

An early-day motion (EDM) is a call for action by an MP for discussion in the House of Commons on an unspecified date. The aim is to call attention to a topic by urging a debate in a single-sentence proposal. EDMs are not allocated Parliamentary time.

What is the 90-day letting rule in London?

London property investors can rent out a home as a holiday let for a maximum of 90 days without applying for planning permission to change the home's use to a short-term let.

Are holiday lets and short-term lets the same?

Holiday lets and short-term lets are different terms for the same thing - renting out a home for less than 30 days.

What are short-term lets?

Short-term lets are homes or rooms let for a few days or weeks at a time - but certainly less than six months. Renters would include holidaymakers, workers with short contracts and business people.

What is a consultation?

A consultation asks for the public's views on government policy. Once a consultation ends, the feedback is analysed and published. Later, the results are integrated into a new bill.

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