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Balancing Tourism and Community: New Controls on Holiday Lets in England

Government Announce Registration Scheme for New Holiday Lets

In 2023, the UK government initiated a consultation on implementing a registration scheme for short-term lets in England. The scheme aims to address the challenges posed by the rapid growth of short-term lets while acknowledging their benefits to the UK's visitor accommodation sector. Following the consultation, the government has this week outlined further details on how the scheme will operate and its broader implications.

Short-term let’s have become an integral part of the UK's visitor accommodation landscape, including on the Isle of Wight, offering various benefits such as additional income for homeowners, increased visitor spending in and expanded options for consumers. However, this has also raised concerns in some areas including difficulties in monitoring compliance with health and safety regulations and the impact on the availability and affordability of housing in areas with high concentrations of short-term lets.

To tackle these challenges, the government enacted the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, providing the legal framework for a registration scheme.

The consultation revealed overwhelming support for a mandatory national registration scheme with 61% of respondents endorsing this option. This approach aims to establish a level playing field in the guest accommodation sector, ensuring consistent application of health and safety regulations, and providing valuable data to local authorities for addressing community and housing impacts.

Alongside the registration scheme, the government will introduce planning measures to grant local councils more control over the growth of short-term lets. This includes the introduction of a new use class for short-term lets and associated permitted development rights. These measures are designed to specifically target short-term lets and will not affect hotels, hostels, or B&Bs. It only affects new holiday lets as existing ones will be automatically reclassified. The rules will not apply to people renting out their main home for less than 90 nights a year.

In designing the registration scheme, the government aims to keep it light-touch, low-cost, and user-friendly. Efforts will be made to minimise regulatory burdens on property owners, especially those who let out their homes infrequently. The scheme will be primarily delivered online, with an initial phase of digital development underway to inform the detailed design, administration, and frequency of registration.

The government stated it will continue to engage with stakeholders, including representatives of the visitor economy, local authorities, operators, and platforms, to ensure that the scheme meets the needs of all involved parties. Further details on the scheme's operation, including a comprehensive response to consultation feedback and the legislative process, will be provided later in the year.

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