Information on Cookies

To make the best use of our website, you'll need to make sure your web browser is set to accept cookies to ensure you receive the best experience.

For further information, please read our Cookies Policy.

Log In

Go To News
Consultation on a Registration Scheme for Short-term Lets in England Published Date: 25/04/2023

The Government have published a consultation on a registration scheme for short-term lets in England, accompanied by the findings of a call for evidence held in 2022 on the development of a registration scheme.

The short-term let sector has grown significantly over the last 10 to 15 years, with the emergence of the sharing economy and the growth of digital platforms at the heart of this change. Short-term lets are now a significant part of the UK’s visitor economy. They provide increased choice and flexibility for tourists and business travellers, and also those attending major sporting and cultural events.

The Government recognise that this has brought a range of benefits, such as increased choice for consumers, and increased income for individual homeowners and to local economies through increased visitor spend.

The Government want to ensure the country reaps these benefits and supports the visitor economy, while also protecting local communities and ensuring the availability of affordable housing to rent or buy.

The Government have heard the concerns of local people in tourist hotspots that they are priced out of homes to rent or to buy and need housing that is more affordable so they can continue to work and live in the place they call home. The proposed planning changes would support sustainable communities, supporting local people and businesses and local services.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committed to consult on a registration scheme for tourist accommodation in “The Tourism Recovery Plan”, published in June 2021. However, given the lack of available data on short-term lets in England, it was decided to first carry out a call for evidence to gather more information on the growth of the market and its impact, in order to inform the development of options for a public consultation.

The call for evidence received almost 4,000 responses. Analysis of these responses showed that there is a need for a more consistent source of data on the number and location of short-term lets in England; and that while short-term lets create many benefits for a range of people and stakeholders, they also pose challenges for communities, particularly those located in tourism hotspots. The findings also indicated that there is broad support from across the sector for a registration scheme of short-term lets in England.

Therefore, in December 2022, the Government committed to introduce a registration scheme in England via an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which is currently going through Parliament. This included holding a public consultation which would explore the options for how such a scheme would operate, which we have now published. Alongside the registration scheme, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has also published a separate consultation on the introduction of a planning use class for short-term lets and potential associated permitted development rights. We are also seeking views on whether it would be helpful to expressly provide a degree of flexibility for dwelling houses to be let out for 30, 60, or 90 nights in a calendar year before planning permission could be required. These changes will give local areas greater control where short-term lets are an issue and support sustainable communities. We have worked across government to ensure that the proposals are complementary and proportionate.

The Government are consulting on three possible approaches for a registration scheme, as well as a range of more detailed questions on the design of the scheme:

  • An opt-in scheme for local authorities, with the framework set nationally: this option is a targeted approach, recognising that any negative housing and community effects of short-term lets are felt more in some localities than others;
  • an opt-in scheme for local authorities with the framework set nationally, and a review point to determine whether to expand the scheme to mandatory: as above, but with the flexibility to expand the scheme to cover all of England if there is a case to do so following an evaluation; and
  • a mandatory national scheme, administered by one of: the English Tourist Board (VisitEngland), local authorities, or another competent authority: this option recognises the need for a level playing field in the guest accommodation sector across England.

The registration scheme is intended to improve consistency in the application of health and safety regulations, helping to boost our international reputation and attract more international visitors by giving visible assurance that we have a high-quality and safe guest accommodation offer. It will also provide valuable data which will give local authorities information about which premises are being let out in their area, and help them to manage the housing market impact of high numbers of short-term lets, where this is an issue. This could help local authorities to apply and enforce the changes.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the planning changes would be introduced through secondary legislation later in the year and would apply in England only. Both of these measures are focused on short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register would not impact on hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

The Government’s ambition has been, and will continue to be, to ensure that we reap the benefits of short-term and holiday lets sustainably, while also protecting the long-term interests of local communities and holidaymakers in England. The publication of the consultation on a registration scheme and the analysis of the call for evidence shows our commitment to this ambition, and our progress towards developing an effective and proportionate response to the sector’s concerns.

I will place a copy of the call for evidence report and the consultation document in the Libraries of both Houses.

IoL Response

The IoL responded to this consultation on 7 June 2023.   A copy of the response can be viewed here.