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Will Holiday Homeowners Soon Need To Get Approval To Rent Them Out?

New UK laws will require planning permission for holiday home rentals. Is this tackling housing pressure or restricting tourism?

Have you already got a UK holiday rental? Perhaps you’re considering buying somewhere desirable, that will work for quick breaks whilst also generating you a strong rental return? If so, the government could be throwing a big curveball in your direction.

In an effort to alleviate housing pressure in tourist hotspots, the UK government is considering a new law that would require property owners to seek planning permission before renting out their homes as holiday lets.

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Michael Gove is attempting to strike a balance between tourism and community

Concerns have been raised that local communities are being driven out by the influx of tourists and the increasing popularity of platforms like Airbnb. To address these concerns, housing secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to introduce a mandatory registration scheme for holiday rentals. This scheme would provide local councils with insights into the impact that temporary lettings have on the availability of local housing stock.

The proposed changes primarily aim to address the worries expressed by residents in popular holiday destinations such as Cornwall, the Lake District and Norfolk. There has been a growing trend of housing being bought up for private short-term rentals, leading to concerns that local communities are being pushed out. Many believe this has permanently damaged communities around the UK.

The government aims to strike a balance between supporting the tourism industry and ensuring that local residents have access to affordable housing. It’s a fine line that will undoubtedly end with at least one party feeling slighted.

Fighting the surging demand for holiday lets

Tourism has long been essential to the UK economy, bringing in big revenue and job opportunities. However, as the popularity of holiday rentals has surged, so too have concerns about the impact on local communities. The most notable of which is Cornwall, known for its natural beauty and charm. It has witnessed a staggering increase in short-term listings over the past five years. Figures indicate a six-fold rise in such listings, indicating a surging demand for holiday lets in these picturesque regions.

The fast growth of platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo has facilitated the rise in temporary rentals, attracting landlord investors looking to profit from tourism. While this has undoubtedly contributed to economic prosperity in these areas, it has also created a local housing crisis, with residents struggling to find affordable homes.

Many communities have experienced a phenomenon where permanent residents are gradually replaced by transient tourists. It’s argued that this erodes the cultural fabric of these cherished towns, cities, and villages.

Gove to give power to local councils

The government plans to grant local councils the power to ban future holiday lets in areas that don’t have sufficient affordable housing for local residents. This move will prioritize the housing needs of families and individuals seeking long-term rental options or those hoping to purchase their own homes.

The government is quick to point out that the proposed changes do not seek to prohibit homeowners from renting out individual rooms or their entire properties for short-term lets. The government recognizes the value of the sharing economy. The intention is to set limits and prevent the market from being dominated by speculative landlords who acquire properties solely for the purpose of short-term rentals.

To gain a better understanding of the scale of the issue, the government is also exploring the introduction of a mandatory registration scheme for holiday homes. This scheme would require property owners to register their holiday rentals, enabling local councils to assess the impact on the local housing market. By having access to accurate data, authorities can make more informed decisions and implement measures to maintain a balance between the tourism industry and the availability of affordable housing.

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