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Holiday Lets Plan Puts Thousands of London Long-Term Rental Properties at Risk

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In a shocking revelation, a government loophole pertaining to vacation rentals puts thousands of long-term rental properties in London at risk. Housing groups are concerned about the government’s recent intention to remove tax advantages for vacation houses and implement a registration process to control the rapidly expanding vacation rental market.

Landlords might turn rental houses into vacation rentals under the new legislation by taking advantage of a “permitted development right” without needing planning approval. This action may supersede current planning regulations, especially in London, where landlords are required to get permission prior to renting out properties to visitors for stays longer than ninety days.

The Labour leader of Westminster City Council, Adam Hug, has issued a warning, stating that the proposed amendments may result in the loss of more than ten thousand affordable houses in Westminster alone. He voiced concerns that this change will worsen an already critical housing situation by giving those looking for rental apartments even fewer options.

While councils will be able to enforce planning restrictions in regions overrun by vacation rentals, doing so will require a year-long process and the gathering of substantial evidence. Some council members, like Danny Beales of Camden, have challenged this timeline, claiming that it might be too late to properly handle the problem.

In addition, there has been opposition to the government’s plan to retroactively approve planning permits for homes that are presently used as vacation rentals. According to Camden Council’s estimations, this decision may result in the loss of about 6,000 dwellings, which would have a major effect on the borough’s housing delivery targets.

When compared to conventional long-term rentals, holiday lets provide landlords a substantially more profitable option. For example, a one-bedroom studio in Camden can rent for £1,173 a week over the holiday season, which is far more than the £270 that can be rented out privately.

Councils are considering imposing limitations on vacation lets outside of London, where there are no planning rules, because of the negative effect on local housing markets. For example, thousands of people in Cornwall are waiting for social housing due to a housing crisis, which has prompted the council to look into steps to reduce the number of holiday rents.

The Department for Levelling Up acknowledged the need to address housing affordability challenges while highlighting the significance of short-term rentals to the tourism industry in response to the concerns expressed. The department stated that the government is keen on giving communities the tools they need to manage short-term let projects successfully, but it declined to comment on the specific effects of the proposed laws in London.

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