United Kingdom

UK governments crack down on short lets

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National and local politicians are considering further regulation of short-term lets amid fears that they are contributing to a housing supply shortage.

Under plans announced by the Welsh government, local authorities will get new powers to limit second homes and holiday lets. Politicians want to change the planning system to categorise primary residences, second homes and holiday lets separately, and councils will be able to require planning permission for changes of use.  A new licensing scheme for short-term lets is also in the works.

The move comes as part of a wider campaign against short-term letting in Wales. From next year, councils will also be able to charge a council tax premium of up to 300% on second homes, while increasing the occupancy requirement for holiday lets to be eligible for business rates instead of council tax. Some Welsh estate agents report that second home owners are already selling in greater numbers.

Tourism sector figures have reacted with dismay to the changes, with the secretary of the Welsh Association of Visitor Attractions calling the new rules “Stalinist”. Meanwhile, Airbnb called on the Welsh government to focus on “buy-to-let speculators” rather than increasing taxes on hosts.

Local authorities in Scotland can already apply to become “short-term let control areas”, allowing them to require planning permission for short-term lets of entire properties. The City of Edinburgh Council has already done so.

So far rules in England have been less restrictive, but reports last month suggested that the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is planning to give mayors the power to require planning permission for short-term lets. The UK government is also considering a registration scheme for holiday rentals, as well as compliance checks on properties. 

Other short-term let headlines

Airbnb to be official hosting provider for 2022 Commonwealth Games – Short Term Rentalz

Airbnb permanently bans parties and events around the world – BBC

Glasgow considers restrictions on short term lets – Daily Record

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