Update from National Organisation of Residents Associations on short term lettings

Our last update on Short Term Letting (STL) was in June 2022, where we reported on measures being taken to STL in other countries (including Scotland!) and being contemplated by government in England and Wales (ie the  Departments for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – which covers tourism).  Since then, progress has been glacial.

A year ago, NORA held a meeting with the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), one of the principal trade bodies involved. Both parties agreed on the current housing crisis, and on the Parliamentary Committee’s two recent recommendations to the government:

  1. to “recommit to delivering the affordable homes the country needs, particularly the 90,000 social rent homes needed every year,” and
  2. to introduce a “tourist accommodation registration scheme and [asked it to] report back on whether the scheme could be used to allow Local Authorities to protect their communities from the holiday-let market.”  Both parties were in favour (a) of such a scheme, (b) of its being compulsory, and (c) of online booking agencies (eg AirBnb) being required to display the venue’s registration code on all advertisements or listings.  In this way, Local Authorities would be aware of the venues in their areas and thus be able to take other actions which were legal.  However, STAA saw there being difficulties in enforcement: so wanted such registration to be at no charge to the venue.

NORA later exchanged correspondence with STAA to add its conviction that, additionally, a new Planning Use Category would probably be needed for STL, allowing Local Authorities (LA) to require Planning Approval to be sought for change of use, if the LA so decided (though not in cases where the landlord is also resident).

In April 23, the Levelling Up Secretary of State announced that a scheme along the above lines would be introduced, and opened a consultation phase, to last to June.  However, little more was heard until February 24, when the proposals were confirmed, with changes “being introduced from this summer”; so don’t hold your breath!

Robin Kerr – meetings secretary
National Organisation of Residents Associations