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Delivering a registration scheme for short-term lets in England - the next steps Published Date: 19/02/2024

In 2023, the government ran a consultation on a registration scheme for short-term lets in England. This statement sets out further details on how the scheme will operate.

Short-term lets are an integral part of the UK’s visitor accommodation offer, and the government is clear that they bring a range of benefits - from extra income for ordinary homeowners and local economies through increased visitor spend, to increased choice for consumers, to supporting our ability to host world-class events such as the Commonwealth Games and Eurovision by providing additional accommodation capacity. We understand, however, that the growth in short-term lets has brought challenges, such as difficulty monitoring compliance with existing health and safety regulations, and the impact on the availability and affordability of homes in areas with higher numbers of short-term lets.

In order to address these challenges, the government took action by legislating to deliver the legal framework for a registration scheme through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023. The details of how a scheme should operate were explored through a consultation, held last year. The analysis of this consultation has demonstrated support for a mandatory registration scheme across all of England - 61% of those who responded supported this option. In comparison, 28% indicated a preference for an opt-in scheme for local authorities with a nationally set framework, and 11% preferred to include a review point to the opt-in scheme to determine whether it should be made mandatory. 

Our analysis of the consultation has highlighted that a mandatory, national approach will promote a level playing field in the guest accommodation sector across England, particularly in the application of existing health & safety regulations. It will provide clarity to all short-term let providers on the existing rules they should be following, and promote greater consistency across providers in applying these rules. A mandatory, national registration scheme will also provide comprehensive, valuable data at a local level in all areas of England. This will give all local authorities the information they need to identify short-term lets in their area and help them address community and housing impacts.​​

The government will separately be introducing planning measures to provide local areas with more control over the future growth of short-term lets. We will also introduce a new use class for short-term lets, associated permitted development rights and flexibility and certainty for homeowners to let out their own main or sole home for up to 90 nights a year. Both of these measures are focussed on short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

The government has also decided that the registration scheme should be designed to be as light touch, low cost and simple to use as possible - this will underpin all our decisions on how to deliver. For example, we do not wish to disproportionately apply new regulation on property owners that let out their home infrequently. We will continue to consider the case for the potential application of a threshold in finalising the register.

Work will now begin at pace to establish the scheme, which will be delivered primarily online. We will begin by conducting an initial phase of digital development which will test how the scheme is best delivered and administered. The findings will inform the detailed design of a scheme - such as who should administer it, frequency of registration and which information should be collected. We will set out further detail on how the scheme will work later in the year, including a full response to the questions we sought views on in our consultation, the full analysis of responses, and further information on the legislative process that will bring the scheme to life. 

In the meantime, it is vital that we work with the sector to get this right and ensure the scheme delivers for everyone in the simplest way. For that reason, we will be reaching out to representatives of the visitor economy and likely users of the scheme (such as local authorities, operators and platforms) as we develop the next phase of this work.