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Government Outlines Plans to Tackle Growth of Short-Term Holiday Lets

The Government has announced that councils will be given greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process. With rent increases in rural areas overtaking those in London, it is hoped that regulating short-term lets may help to ensure that private rental housing in rural areas is affordable and accessible for local tenants.


Short-term lets to be subject to planning process

Under the proposals, a new planning use class will be created for short-term lets that are not used as a sole or main home, and planning permission would be required. For any existing dedicated short-term lets, they will be reclassified into the new use class and will not require a planning application.


Additionally, the Government intends to:


  • Introduce associated permitted development rights which would provide flexibility for short-term lets to operate where they are not a local issue but would allow councils to remove this flexibility where there is a local concern.

  • Develop a new mandatory national short-term lets register that will give local authorities the information they need about their local housing markets.


Homeowners will still be able to let out their own or sole home for up to 90 nights per year without planning permission. These changes are focused on short-term lets and will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.


It is anticipated that these changes will be introduced this summer.

Rent increases in rural areas overtake national average

The Government’s concerns regarding the availability of affordable housing across different UK regions aligns with findings from the TDS Charitable Foundation’s latest Voice of the Tenant Survey. Whilst tenants reported an average increase of 17% in the cost of their rent, this jumped to 27% for tenants in rural areas.

Rural areas have seen a significant increase in short-term lets.  Research by the CPRE reported a 1000% increase in short-term lets nationally between 2015 and 2021, with most occurring in rural staycation hotspots, including Cornwall, Devon, South Lakeland and Northumberland.

Protecting communities

The increase in short-term lets has been found to correlate with growing waiting lists for social housing, as private rental housing is converted to holiday lets. According to the National Housing Federation, from 2019-22 the waiting lists for social housing in rural areas grew by 31%, compared with 3% in urban areas.


This is likely to exacerbate the private rental sector’s existing supply-demand issues, with Propertymark reporting 8 prospective tenants for every available property.


It is hoped that regulating short-term lets will help to improve availability of housing for renters. It may also support potential homebuyers, as an increase in short-term lets, can reduce the availability of homes for purchase and increase house prices. The Voice of the Tenant survey found that most tenants (68%) aspire towards homeownership.


Improving standards and developing policy in the private rented sector


TDS supports an evidence-based approach towards improving standards and developing policy in the private rented sector by providing a range of resources.

Here you can find information and our responses to key policy proposals affecting landlords, letting agents and tenants. We also carry out in-depth research on a range of issues in the sector and analyse key datasets.

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About the Author

Dr Jennifer Harris, Head of Policy and Research at The Dispute Service

Dr Jennifer Harris is Head of Policy, Research and Strategy at The Dispute Service where she is establishing a new department to support an impartial and evidence-based approach towards improving standards in the private rented sector. Jennifer holds a PhD from the University of Bristol Law School. Prior to joining The Dispute Service she led the Raising Standards in the UK Private Rented Sector research programme within the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) and has also worked as the Research Manager at the national organisation Homeless Link.

The views expressed in this content are solely those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the views of TDS, its officers, or employees.



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