A short-term let is where a property or room in a property is rented out on a nightly basis (usually organised online) and the guest is generally a tourist or business traveller. Expectations of hotel-like services are common. This type of let is different from a tenancy between a landlord and tenant. It's also sometimes referred to as a 'nightly let'.
Homeowners can legally rent their homes on this basis for up to 90 nights a year without planning permission. They must meet certain standards, and like all properties they cannot cause excessive disruption to their neighbours.
We know that most homeowners who let on a nightly basis do so within the law and maintain excellent standards. However, we also know short-term letting can cause problems for our residents. When guests do not respect their neighbours, residents may experience problems such as excessive noise, unsociable hours, or dumping of waste.
The council’s short-term let team will investigate any properties that cause problems for our communities.
What you can do if you have a concern
We will investigate properties that cause significant disruption, fear, alarm or distress to neighbours. Please note that we cannot take action if the noise is inconsistent or could be associated with normal and reasonable daily living.
If you witness crime, or feel there is any immediate danger, you should always contact the police.
If you believe the property is being let for more than 90 nights a year, you can report it to HST@westminster.gov.uk.
The council will visit the property to establish if there is a breach of the law, this will require multiple visits to establish the evidence required. It may help to keep a record of dates, time, duration and the nature of the problem. This can help the council investigate.
Homeowners can legally let their home on a short-term basis, as long as they meet all legal requirements and do not cause unreasonable disturbance to neighbours.
To let legally and responsibly, you must:
1. comply with the 90 night limit. If you want to let your home for more than 90 nights a year, you must seek planning permission.
2. check you have permission to share your home. To let your home, you must be the council tax payer at the property. You should also check the terms of your lease or, if you are not the homeowner, you must have permission from the landlord.
3. take measures to make sure your guests do not cause unreasonable disturbance to neighbours. As the homeowner, you are responsible for what happens at the property. If your guests cause excessive noise or anti-social behaviour, you may be liable for fines or prosecutions.
Guests that behave irresponsibly can be a nightmare for neighbours. This might be because of excessive noise, unsociable hours, dumping waste or causing mess or disturbance in common areas.
Top tips for ensuring guests behave responsibly:
Breaking the 90 night limit or letting the property when you are not the council tax payer:
Failing to effectively control guest behaviour:
Failing to adhere to health and safety regulations:
Adopting a protocol for short-term letting in your building will set clear guidelines for your leaseholders to follow. We recommend using the STAA best practice building protocol:
How long can you let your home for?
Homeowners can let their home on a short-term basis for up to 90 nights in a calendar year (1 January to 31 December).
Who can let their home?
You are only able to let out your home and ‘host’ if:
You may also need to notify or request permission from the following:
Health and Safety (including Fire Safety)
Ensuring the safety of your guests is extremely important. By law, you must undertake a risk assessment to identify any hazards that may lead to potential accidents, such as falls and electric shocks, and take measures to reduce those risks. You should consider that some guests, such as young children, may be vulnerable.
It is a good idea to keep a written record of this risk assessment. Failure to comply with these standards could invalidate your landlord’s insurance cover.
Key health and safety considerations:
If you let your house, you are responsible for ensuring your guest’s behaviour does not negatively affect your neighbours.
If your guests behave unreasonably, the council can take enforcement action against you. We may issue a Community Protection Notice, which will tell you what reasonable steps you need to take to ensure anti-social behaviour does not happen again. Breaching this notice is a criminal offence and may carry a fine of up to £20,000 for businesses or £2,500 for individuals.
If the anti-social behaviour persists, the council and police can consider serving a Closure Order, restricting all access to the property for up to 6 months.
Residents must dispose of their waste responsibly, using bin chambers, on-street collections or black bins across the City. Putting out waste at the incorrect time or location can incur fines of up to £2,500.
If your property causes a persistent noise nuisance the Council may, under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, serve a noise abatement notice, seize equipment and prosecute.
The money you earn from hosting is income and subject to tax. Depending on the amount you earn from hosting, you may need to declare it to HM Revenue and Customs. You can find details on the tax incentives and how to correctly account for tax online.