Deregulating short term lets of London homes

The Deregulation Bill as drafted will contain a measure allowing London homes to be rented on short term lets without planning permission. However, debates continue in Parliament as to the desirability of this measure in the context of an ongoing housing crisis in London.

The Deregulation Bill contains wide-ranging measures aimed to ease regulatory burden and bureaucracy. As currently drafted, these measures include amendments to existing legislation, which will allow Londoners to rent their homes on short term lets without having to apply for planning permission.

Under s25 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973, the let of a residential property in London for less than 90 days is a material change of use requiring planning permission.

The Deregulation Bill will enable the Secretary of State to introduce regulations that provide that the use of a permanent residence in London as temporary accommodation will not be a material change of use. The regulations may exclude certain types of property, or exclude property in specific areas, and (according to a government press release) there will be measures to prevent the abuse of such reforms and the permanent loss of residential accommodation. However, debates over this measure are continuing in Parliament. Some argue that it is a sensible reform of outdated legislation but the concern remains that it would only worsen the city’s housing crisis by enabling the wide-spread replacement of permanent homes with holiday-lets.

Other property-related measures in the Bill include:

  • Amendments to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, effecting the extinguishment of certain unrecorded rights of way after 1 January 2026 and amending the procedure for modifying a local authority’s definitive map. 
  • Amendments to the Housing Act 1985 concerning the Right to Buy, including a reduction in the qualifying period so that local authority tenants have a right to buy their home after three years instead of five years.

The Deregulation Bill is still completing its passage through Parliament, having been through committee stage in the House of Lords in November last year.

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