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Short-term lettings in London - the Deregulation Act

27 May 2015

Websites allowing travellers to rent out someone’s home (or part of it) on a short-term basis, usually a holiday, have become increasingly popular over the last few years.  They can be cheaper than hotels and attract tourists seeking an alternative stay for their visit.

However, in London, section 25 of the Greater London Council (Greater London Powers) Act 1973 had been cited as a means of regularising such short-term rentals.  The Act specified that the use of a residential property in Greater London for temporary sleeping accommodation by the same person for less than 90 consecutive nights, in exchange for payment or because of the occupant’s employment, is a material change of use requiring planning permission.

As such, letting a property in this way could be considered a breach of planning control and leave the landowner open to enforcement action. The maximum fine for such a breach would be £20,000.

As of 26 May 2015, the Deregulation Act 2015 amended the 1973 Act to include a new section 25A which excludes section 25 where:

  1. The number of nights where the property is used for temporary sleeping accommodation in any one year does not exceed ninety; and
  2. The person providing the accommodation is liable to pay council tax in respect of the property.

Some local authorities had raised concerns on the potential impact of this, however the Government considers the new provision appropriately protects local authorities whilst giving Londoners the flexibility as the rest of the country.

The Government press release is available here.

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