Short-Term Let Planning: Facts for Landlords & Homeowners



The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 28, 2024

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Short-Term Let Planning: Facts for Landlords & Homeowners

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If you're a landlord or homeowner renting out your place for short stays, you might need planning permission soon, thanks to new Government plans.

Ministers started two consultations about regulating short-term rentals, including properties on platforms like Airbnb, holiday cottages, and even part-time homes for contract workers. The move comes as a response to worries about the sector's rapid growth.

Short-term lets can be quite lucrative because they face fewer regulations than long-term rentals in the private sector and enjoy better tax benefits.

Because of these perks, many landlords, especially in touristy areas, have shifted from long-term to short-term letting. Recent data suggests around 50,000 homes have left the private rented sector because of this trend.

This shift makes it hard for locals to find affordable rentals and has raised concerns about anti-social behaviour in homes rented out for parties over a few days.

Let’s have a look at short term lets planning permission!

Table of Contents

What is Short-Term Let

A short-term let refers to accommodation rented out to one or more guests for a brief period. This accommodation isn't the guest's primary residence. It can be any building or structure, including rooms within a home or an entire house.

Short-term lets do not include licensed accommodation under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, mobile accommodation that can transport guests during their stay, or hotels.

There are four types of short-term lets:

  • Home Sharing: Renting out all or part of your own home for short-term stays while you're there.
  • Home Letting: Renting out all or part of your own home for short-term stays while you're away, for instance, when you're on holiday.
  • Secondary Letting: Renting out a property where you don't usually live, such as a second home.
  • Home Letting and Home Sharing: Renting out your home for short-term stays while living there and when you're away.

When Do Short-Term Holiday Lets Need Planning Permission?

If you're switching your property from a residential home to a short-term holiday let, you might need planning permission. This use change is judged case-by-case, depending on the 'scale of fact and degree.' Sometimes, this switch is considered Permitted Development, but it really depends on how intense, frequent, and the nature of the short-term letting. For example, if you're letting out your property for more than 90 nights, you'll likely need planning permission according to parliamentary regulations.

It also hinges on whether any constraints at your property have removed Permitted Development rights.

Letting your property for more than 90 nights a year, or if you don’t pay the council tax for it, without planning permission is illegal. Fines for such planning breaches and enforcement actions have skyrocketed from £20,000 to an unlimited amount.

Do I Need Planning Permission?

In London, you don't need planning permission to use an entire flat or house as a short-term or holiday let if:

  • You pay the Council Tax for the property.
  • Each individual short-term let is no more than 90 days.
  • The total number of holiday let days in a calendar year is no more than 90 days.

However, you do need full planning permission to convert a flat or house into a short-term or holiday let if:

  • The total number of short-term or holiday let days exceed 90 days in a calendar year.
  • You don't need planning permission if you let your property on leases longer than 90 days or if you let a room within your property while you live there permanently.

It's important to check for any restrictions in your leases, tenancies, insurance, or mortgage agreements that might prevent you from letting out your property. All tenants should consult their landlord before allowing anyone to stay in their home. Council tenants are not allowed to let the entirety of a Council-rented property.

Planning Permission

Certain factors often mean planning permission is needed to change a dwelling to a short-term let:

  • If the property is a flat.
  • If guests have access to communal areas like gardens, stairwells, or entrances.
  • The capacity of the short-term let, especially if it caters to large numbers of guests or multiple household groups, might change the property's usage nature.
  • Converting public rooms into additional accommodation.
  • Providing outdoor living areas (e.g., a hot tub or external bar) in a built-up area.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and each case should be considered individually. Other relevant factors include the duration of the short-term let usage within a calendar year, the location (rural or urban), and the likely impact on local amenities.

While each situation is unique, a detached house in a rural area used by a single household as a short-term let is less likely to require planning permission than a flat in an urban building. Legislation around short-term lets has evolved, making it difficult to draw general conclusions. Still, typically, single-household occupancy of houses is less likely to be a material change of use than flats.

What is the Government Consultation on Short-Term Lets?

The government is looking into regulating short-term holiday lets, such as Airbnb rentals, to ensure they don’t negatively impact local communities while still supporting the visitor economy. We need planning permission for short-term holidays, depending on the property and location.

Local councils enforce planning regulations, and they might require hosts to get permission before renting out their properties. This is because short-term rentals can affect the availability of affordable housing for residents.

The current government consultation aims to explore effective ways to manage short-term rentals. Before listing their property on short-term rental platforms, hosts must check with their local council to see if they need permission.

Confirmation that Planning Permission is Not Required for a Change of Use

If you're confident that your short-term let doesn’t need planning permission and you want written confirmation, you should apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use under Section 150 or 151 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

  • For Long-Term Use (Over 10 Years): If your property has been operating as a short-term let for more than a decade, you should apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for the existing use under Section 150.
  • For New or Recent Use (Under 10 Years): If your short-term let is new or has been running for less than 10 years, apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for the proposed use under Section 151. Should the Planning Authority determine that a significant change of use has occurred, you’ll need to apply for planning permission instead.

The responsibility to provide proof lies with you, the applicant. To secure a Certificate of Lawful Use for an existing use, you need to demonstrate that:

  1. The change of use took place over 10 years ago.
  2. The short-term let has operated continuously for at least 10 years.
  3. The nature of the use has remained consistent, without any increase or intensification, over the 10 years.
  4. No formal enforcement action has been taken against the use during this period.


The UK government is considering new regulations for short-term rentals to address concerns about their rapid growth. Landlords and homeowners may soon need planning permission for short-term lets, particularly if the property is rented out for more than 90 nights a year. These changes aim to address the impact of short-term rentals on local housing availability, affordability, and potential anti-social behaviour. It's important for property owners to stay informed about the evolving regulations and seek advice to ensure compliance with the law.

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 For guest inquiries, reach out at 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 For guest inquiries, reach out at 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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