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Government to block Airbnb conversions in hotspots

Homeowners who want to turn properties into Airbnbs in holiday hotspots will be forced to seek planning permission first, as the government looks to control the quantity of short-term lets in some areas.

A new ‘use class’ and ‘permitted development right’ will be introduced into planning law to be used by local authorities, subject to consultation by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The rules propose an exemption where people who want to let out their homes for a specific number of nights in a calendar year will be able to do so without planning permission.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, said: “Tourism brings many benefits to our economy but in too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets.

“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.

“I have listened to representations from MPs in tourist hot spots and am pleased to launch this consultation to introduce a requirement for planning permissions for short term lets.”

The proposals come alongside a separate consultation from the Department for Culture Media and Sport on a new registration scheme for short-term lets.

The scheme aims to build a picture of how many short-term lets there are and where they are located, to gauge the impact of short-term lets on communities.

Lucy Frazer, culture secretary, said: “This new world of ultra-flexible short term lets gives tourists more choice than ever before, but it should not come at the expense of local people being able to own their own home and stay local.

“The government wants to help areas get the balance right, and today we have an incomplete picture of the size and spread of our short term lets market. This consultation on a national registration scheme will give us the data we need to assess the position and enable us to address the concerns communities face.”