Holiday homes to need planning permission — what you need to know

View of the Old Town of Hastings and the coast
Towns such as this one in Hastings could be affected by the new proposals for planning permission for holiday homes (Image credit: Getty Images)

The UK government has proposed a new law that would require property owners to obtain planning consent before renting out their homes or apartments as holiday lets.

The move is aimed at addressing the shortage of affordable housing in popular tourist destinations and protect communities from the negative impacts of tourism.

If the law is passed, it would mean that property owners in England would have to obtain planning permission before letting their homes or apartments to tourists for short-term stays.

How is the law changing for holiday lets?

The proposed changes, which are being put forward by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, would require property owners to seek permission before renting out their homes for short-term holiday lets.

The department has also proposed a consultation to determine whether homeowners should be permitted to let out their properties for a limited number of nights each year without obtaining planning permission. 

Additionally, the government plans to hold consultations on the feasibility of a registration scheme for short-term holiday lets.

While local authorities will be permitted to opt-out of the proposed planning controls, the government believes that they will be effective in helping to regulate the impact of holiday rentals on local communities. 

The proposed regulations have been met with mixed reactions from the public, with some arguing that they will help to prevent the over-commercialisation of residential neighbourhoods, while others believe that they could stifle the growth of the sharing economy.

Why is the government introducing the planning rules?

The proposed changes to planning conditions for holiday homes seeks to combat the increase in short-term holiday rentals in popular tourist areas, such as scenic coastal towns, national parks like the Lake District, and cities. The influx of these types of rentals has caused housing prices to skyrocket and has made it increasingly difficult for locals to find affordable homes.

Levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, who announced the plans, expressed concern that local people were being "pushed out of cherished towns, cities, and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets." 

Gove added that the new regulations aim to ensure more people have access to affordable homes and that families can rent or purchase a home close to their workplace. The government has also recently implemented tax squeezes on second homeowners, including a cut to the Capital Gains Tax allowance.

Culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, acknowledged that the rise in short-term lets has given tourists more options than ever before, but warned that it "should not come at the expense of local people being able to own their own home and stay local."

Frazer added that the government aims to strike a balance between the needs of tourists and locals and that a national registration scheme will be introduced to assess the extent of the short-term rental market and address any community concerns.

When will planning permission for holiday lets take effect?

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill introducing the changes is currently going through parliament, while the planning changes would be introduced through secondary legislation later in 2023, but this is subject to the outcome of the consultation. These proposed changes would only apply in England.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.