Gove planning permission holiday lets

02 Dec 2022

The government is considering making home owners apply for planning consent if they wish to use a property for holiday lets.

The Times says this is one idea under consideration to help limit the spread of holiday lets in areas where it is thought there are too few affordable properties to buy or let for local people and key workers.

Owners would be obliged to submit a ‘change of use’ planning application with local planning authorities having the right to agree or disagree to the change. A similar proposal is believed to be under consideration by the Welsh Government.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is floating the possibility with an estimated 60 Conservative MPs who are threatening to inflict a string of Commons defeats on the government that would severely restrict housebuilding in England.

The proposal – which is merely under discussion between Tory MPs at this stage – has already been dismissed by the Generation Rent group of activists.

Dan Wilson Craw, the deputy director of the group, has tweeted extensively about the proposal, saying: “Planning permission would presumably be retrospective, meaning that the 17,000 holiday lets registered for business rates since 2020 will stay in the tourist sector.

“ … Landlords in Cornwall, the Lakes etc can make the same income they get from a tenant in a year in just two months from tourists. That means any property with planning permission for holiday letting will be worth loads more.

“ … We need to recognise that the existing laissez-faire treatment of holiday lets would mean most new-builds would continue to be snapped up for tourists.

“…Rather than planning permission we should register landlords, whether they let their property to tourists or tenants – and give councils the power to cap the number of licences available to operate holiday lets. Licences would expire, making residential use the default setting.

“That would remove the disproportionate benefit that (more permanent) planning permission would confer on holiday lets.” 

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