Michael Gove has announced proposals to require planning permission for short-term lets to prevent a “hollowing out” of communities.

The new law would require people letting out their property as a short-term holiday home to seek permission from the local authority under a new “use” category.

The rules would not to apply to people renting out their main home for 90 days or less in a year.

A mandatory national register would be set up providing councils with information on short-term lets in their area.

Mr Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: “Short-term lets can play an important role in the UK’s flourishing tourism economy, providing great, easily-accessible accommodation in some of the most beautiful parts of our country.

“But in some areas, too many local families and young people feel they are being shut out of the housing market and denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community.

“So the Government is taking action as part of its long-term plan for housing. That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places, and giving communities the power to decide.

“This will allow local communities to take back control and strike the right balance between protecting the visitor economy and ensuring local people get the homes they need.”

Tourism minister Julia Lopez said: “Short-term lets provide flexibility for homeowners and give tourists more accommodation options than ever before, but this should not prevent local people from being able to buy or rent homes in their area.

“The Government is committed to getting the balance right to ensure both local people and our visitor economy can thrive.”

Amanda Cupples, Airbnb general manager for northern Europe, said: “The introduction of a short-term lets register is good news for everyone.

“Families who host on Airbnb will benefit from clear rules that support their activity, and local authorities will get access to the information they need to assess and manage housing impacts and keep communities healthy, where necessary.

Cornwall Views
Port Isaac in Cornwall. The leader of Cornwall Council welcomed the proposals (David Davies/PA)

“We have long led calls for the introduction of a host register and we look forward to working together to make it a success.”

Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, welcomed the proposals to tackle the “escalating” number of holiday lets in the county.

She said: “Alongside the introduction of the 100% premium on second homes from April 2025, I’m pleased the Government is providing the fiscal, planning and regulatory powers to help rebalance Cornwall’s housing market and allow us to provide even more decent and secure homes for local people and help all our communities to thrive.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said: “The Government also intends to introduce associated permitted development rights – one allowing for a property to be changed from a short-term let to a standard residential dwelling, and a second that would allow a property to be changed to a short-term let.

“Local authorities would be able to remove these permissions and require full planning permission if they deem it necessary.

“Both of these measures are focused on short-term lets, and therefore the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels or B&Bs.

“Further details of these measures will be set out in the Government’s response to the consultations, including the timeline for implementation of the register, the use class and the individual permitted development rights – with the changes being introduced from this summer.”

Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “We have around 12,000 short term lets in Westminster – more than any other area in the country – and the reality is whole residential blocks have been hollowed out to become the equivalent of short-term lets.

“While we appreciate short-term lets are a cost-effective way to see a city, local residents often face the impact of noisy parties and dumped rubbish.

“The other issue is that the relentless growth of short-term lets has eroded our limited housing stock.

“If we could take back all the short-term lets in Westminster and offer them as private rented properties to local people, it would be the equivalent of seven years’ worth of house building.

“I look forward to seeing more detail on today’s announcement and working with Michael Gove to ensure this is a scheme that gives local councils new powers to crack down on irresponsible short-term letting.”

Matthew Lesh, director of public policy and communications at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “The Government is scapegoating holiday lets for the housing crisis. Britain’s restrictive planning system, by not allowing enough homes to be built, is the real reason people cannot afford to live in their own communities.

“A national registration scheme and requiring permission to use one’s own property for holiday lets will not fix anything, but it will add to Britain’s red tape nightmare and could end up doing more damage to local communities by hurting their tourism economy.”