New Rules for Short-term Rentals for London [2024 Update]

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 26, 2024

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New Rules for Short-term Rentals for London [2024 Update]

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Running a short-term rental business in London isn't just about finding guests and managing bookings. You've got a maze of rules and licenses to go through. The city's strict regulations aim to balance letting homeowners earn from their properties with keeping enough homes for long-term residents.

The Greater London Authority states that without planning permission, you can only rent your place for short stays for up to 90 nights a year. This limit, known as the "90-day rule," prevents homes from turning into unofficial hotels while allowing owners to make some extra cash.

This rule covers rentals through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO and any other temporary accommodations. Airbnb's system blocks bookings over the 90-night cap, making it easier to follow the rules.

But what are the new rules for short-term rentals?

Let’s find out!

Table of Contents

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirements in London

In London, if you're looking to rent out your property for more than 90 nights a year, you'll need to get a license from your local borough council. This rule adds to the 90-night limit set by the Greater London Authority.

Getting the license varies depending on which borough you're in, but generally, you'll need to fill out an application, provide details about your property, and pay the required fees. Some boroughs might also need you to have inspections or give extra documents to make sure your place meets safety and housing standards.

For example, in Westminster, hosts must apply for a "Temporary Sleeping Accommodation" license if they plan to rent their place for more than 90 nights annually. The application asks for property information and the dates you want to rent and costs about £800.

Similarly, in Camden, if you're going over the 90-night cap, you'll need a "Temporary Use Notice." Applying for this costs around £400, and the council might add more rules based on what you're doing.

Not following these rules could result in big fines or other legal problems. Some hosts have had to pay large fines for breaking the rules on short-term rentals.

Remember, rules and costs can change depending on where you are in London. It's a good idea to talk to your borough council and maybe get advice from a professional to make sure you're following the latest rules and licenses.

What are the Documents You Need for Short-term Rental in London

Running a short-term rental in London involves obtaining several essential documents and licenses to ensure compliance with local regulations. Here are the key documents and requirements you need to know:

Planning Permission 

If you plan to rent out your property for more than 90 nights per calendar year, you must obtain planning permission from the local borough council. 

Short-Term Rental License

Depending on your borough, you may need a specific license or permit if you exceed the 90-night limit. This could include a "Temporary Sleeping Accommodation" license, a "Temporary Use Notice," or a similar document issued by the council.

Safety Certificates

London's short-term rental properties must meet safety standards, including fire safety regulations. To demonstrate compliance, you might need certificates like a Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Report, and Fire Risk Assessment.

Proof of Ownership or Tenancy Agreement 

When applying for licenses or planning permission, you'll likely need to provide proof of ownership or a tenancy agreement for the property.

Floor Plans and Property Details: Borough councils may request detailed floor plans, property descriptions, and other relevant information about your rental unit as part of the application process.

Public Liability Insurance

Some boroughs require short-term rental operators to have public liability insurance in case of guest-related incidents or claims.

Noise Management Plan

Depending on your rental's location, you might need to submit a noise management plan outlining how you'll minimise disturbances to neighbours.

New Rules for Short-Term Rentals in the UK

Across the United Kingdom, there are several consistent rules and regulations that apply to short-term rentals, regardless of the region or local authority. Here are the main requirements you need to know:

Tax Obligations

Income from short-term rentals is subject to income tax in the UK. Hosts must declare their rental earnings to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and pay taxes based on their total taxable income. If their annual turnover exceeds the VAT registration threshold, operators may also need to register for VAT and charge it on rental income.

Safety Standards

Short-term rental properties must meet various safety regulations, including those for fire safety, gas safety, and electrical installations. Hosts may need to provide safety certificates such as a Gas Safety Certificate, Electrical Installation Condition Report, and Fire Risk Assessment.

Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) Rules

Properties meeting specific criteria, such as being available for letting for at least 210 days annually and actually letting for at least 105 days, may qualify as Furnished Holiday Lets (FHLs). FHLs have distinct tax rules and may qualify for tax reliefs and allowances.

Mortgage and Insurance 

Operators must inform mortgage lenders and insurance providers about their property's intended short-term rental use. Failing to do so could breach mortgage or insurance terms, leading to potential complications or coverage issues.

Anti-Social Behavior

Local authorities may have regulations addressing issues like noise disturbances or anti-social behaviour caused by short-term rental guests. Hosts are responsible for ensuring their guests comply with these regulations.

Data Protection

Operators must comply with data protection laws, including GDPR when handling guest or customer personal information.

Taxes for Short-Term Rentals in London

Running a short-term rental in London means you'll need to handle several taxes at both local and national levels. Here are the main taxes you'll encounter:

Income Tax

Income from short-term rentals is treated like regular rental income and is subject to income tax. The rate varies depending on your total taxable income, ranging from 20% to 45% for the 2023/24 tax year.

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

If your annual rental income exceeds £85,000, you may need to register for VAT and charge it on your rental earnings. The current standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%.

Council Tax

If your short-term rental property is your primary residence, you're liable to pay Council Tax. However, if the property is used exclusively for short-term rentals and not as your main home, it might be exempt from Council Tax and instead be subject to business rates.

Business Rates

Properties used solely for short-term rentals and not as primary residences may be liable for business rates. These rates are based on the property's rateable value and the local authority's multiplier.

Conclusion 

Staying informed about the evolving rules for short-term properties in the UK is crucial. With thoughtful engagement and strategic planning, the vacation rental industry can adapt to these changes and continue to flourish. That's why you should choose Houst, a leading short-term property management company in the UK.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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