Short-term letting

1. Short-term lets (STLs)

A short-term let (STL) is the occupation of a property by the same person(s) for less than 90 consecutive nights.

Before the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force, planning permission was needed for every short-term let of a property.

However, the Deregulation Act 2015 amended the legislation and the short-term letting of a residential house or flat is now permitted, subject to 2 conditions:

  • the total number of nights that a property is used for short term letting in a calendar year (1 January to 31 December) must not exceed 90
  • at least one of the persons providing the accommodation for short term letting is liable to pay Council Tax at the property where the accommodation is provided

To use your property for short-term letting, you must comply with these conditions or you are likely to be subject to formal planning enforcement action.

2. Planning permission

You must apply for planning permission if you short-term let your property for more than 90 nights in a calendar year.

Planning permission is needed for any days that exceed the 90-night allowance.

For example, if you let your property for 100 nights of the year, you'll need planning permission for the 10 nights that exceed the 90-night limit.

 

3. STL enforcement

The council takes failure to comply with STL conditions very seriously and our short-term lettings team investigate unauthorised STLs in Westminster.

People using properties for short-term letting beyond the 90-night limit without planning permission, are likely to face formal planning enforcement action.

This may include the issue of an Enforcement Notice on freeholders, leaseholders, mortgagees and any other person having a legal interest (i.e. ownership) in the property. Non-compliance with an Enforcement Notice is a criminal offence and anyone found guilty could face an unlimited fine in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court.

Negative effects of STLs

Using residential properties as STLs on a permanent or semi-permanent (commercial) basis removes permanent residential housing from the market which adds to housing supply problems at a time of an acute housing shortage.

It can result in many negative consequences like:

  • noise disturbance
  • anti-social behaviour
  • inappropriate disposal of food waste and general refuse
  • reduced security
  • a transient community less likely to care about the area they're staying in, undermining residential neighbourhoods and devaluing entire areas
  • overcrowding of properties
  • invalidity of home and block insurance during periods of short-term letting
  • breaches of the lease agreements
  • breaches of terms of mortgage

4. Examples of STLs

Short-term letting that doesn't require planning permission

Mr A works abroad for 70 nights every summer. He rents his flat out for the entire period that he is away but lives in the property for the rest of the calendar year. Mr A had 20 nights of his short-term let allowance left.

Ms B spends various periods of the year away from home. In 2016, she rented her property to holiday makers on six separate occasions. The property was rented for 13 nights in February, 7 nights in March, 14 nights in April, 7 nights in May, 28 nights in June and 21 nights in July (Total: 90 nights). Ms B used all of the 90 night allowance for short-term lets in that calendar year.

Ms C works abroad for most of the year. In 2016, she short-term let her property to a business traveller for 42 nights. She then decided to find a long-term tenant who resided in her property for 3 and a ½ months. Ms C had 48 days of her short-term let allowance left as the 3 and ½ month stay does not constitute a short-term let as the duration of the stay is more than 90 nights.

Short-term letting that does require planning permission

Mr D spends half of the year on holiday. In 2016 Mr D rented out his property to holiday makers for 21 nights in March, 21 nights in April, 28 nights in May, 3 nights in July, 14 nights in August and 35 nights in September (Total: 122 nights).   Mr D exceeded his short term let allowance (90 nights) by 32 nights and planning permission was therefore required for the additional 32 nights.

Mr E has purchased a property in order to continuously let it out to tourists. In 2016, Mr E short-term let his property for 310 nights. Mr E exceeded his short term let allowance by 220 nights and planning permission was therefore required for the 220 nights.

Report STLs

Report a property being used unlawfully for STLs

5. Legislation

Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973 (as amended)

Deregulation Act 2015 

6. Contact us

Report a property being used unlawfully for STLs

For more information on short-term letting, email planningenforcementteam@westminster.gov.uk.


Last updated: 20 March 2017
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