Holiday homes could require planning permission under new rules announced by government
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Home owners will need to get planning permission before converting properties into holiday homes in tourist hotspots, new government plans explain. The plans aim to ease housing problems in tourist locations in England.
However, there could be exemptions based on how often a home was available to tourists. Housing Secretary Michael Gove explained the plans by saying too many people were being "pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages".
As he announced the consultation, Gove said tourism brought economic benefits to tourist locations but added: "I’m determined that we ensure that more people have access to local homes at affordable prices, and that we prioritise families desperate to rent or buy a home of their own close to where they work."
Planning permission on holiday lets could help local residents who are struggling to find suitable housing in popular holiday destinations, including the Lake District, Cornwall and Norfolk. According to government research, short-term listings in Cornwall are expected to have increased six times in the last five years.
Ministers say the proposed measures are focused on short-term lets and would not affect hotels, B&Bs or hostels. Alongside the proposal, the culture department has also launched a consultation on plans to introduce a registration scheme for short-term lets.
Under the registration scheme consultation, the government is expected to introduce a rental period of between 30 and 90 days before a homeowner would need to apply for planning permission to change the property into a short-term let. When the rental period concludes, homeowners would then have to seek permission from the local council to reclassify their home as a short-term let.
If the plans go ahead, councils will be able to see how much local housing stock is taken up by temporary lets. However, local authorities may decide against using planning controls.
According to the BBC, Airbnb - the website which enables homeowners to advertise holiday lets - said it welcomed the scheme but warned changes to the planning system would need to "strike a balance between protecting housing and supporting everyday families who let their space to help afford their home and keep pace with rising living costs".