Short-term lets to require planning permission under new proposals

People who want to turn their homes into Airbnbs for more than three months of the year will now need to get planning permission.

Michael Gove has announced proposals to require planning permission for short-term lets to prevent a “hollowing out” of communities.

The new law would require people letting out their property as a short-term holiday home to seek permission from the local authority under a new “use” category.

The rules would not to apply to people renting out their main home for 90 days or less in a year.

The rules around controlling the number of Airbnbs in Cornwall has been hotly debated for several years Credit: ITV News

A mandatory national register would be set up providing councils with information on short-term lets in their area.

Mr Gove unveiled the plans during a visit to the Cornish village of St Agnes, in a bid to tackle the issue of short-term lets leaving fewer places for local people to live.

He met with members of the community to discuss housing issues in the Duchy, where there are 13,000 second homes according to a 2022 council report.

The Housing Secretary said: "We know that in the short term it can be helpful for the tourist economy but we also know that needs to be an element of control so that local people can also rent those homes as well."

The Housing Secretary says this should prevent landlords in the future changing the type of rental from long-term to short-term without the council's approval first.

"I think it's appropriate that people, if they want to, can let out their homes part of the time, but they do need to register", Mr Gove said.

"And then secondly, it's also the case that if that home is currently being used in the in the private rented sector with a family there, that you need to you apply for planning permission in order to get that home to become a short term rental in the future.

This graffiti in the village of St Agnes made headlines for representing some locals frustrations at second home owners in Cornwall. Credit: Jimmy Pinfield

Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, welcomed the proposals to tackle the “escalating” number of holiday lets in the county.

She said: “Alongside the introduction of the 100% premium on second homes from April 2025, I’m pleased the Government is providing the fiscal, planning and regulatory powers to help rebalance Cornwall’s housing market and allow us to provide even more decent and secure homes for local people and help all our communities to thrive.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said: “The Government also intends to introduce associated permitted development rights – one allowing for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, and a second that would allow a property to be changed to a short-term let.

The Housing Secretary spoke with residents at the St Agnes Hotel about the difficulties they have faced trying to find stable housing. Credit: ITV News

"Local authorities would be able to remove these permissions and require full planning permission if they deem it necessary.

“Both of these measures are focused on short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.“

"Further details of these measures will be set out in the Government’s response to the consultations, including the timeline for implementation of the register, the use class and the individual permitted development rights – with the changes being introduced from this summer.”