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London boroughs share short-term let concerns

London boroughs have expressed concerns over shortcomings in government plans for regulating the short-term and holiday lets sector, warning they could worsen the capital’s housing crisis. In a letter to housing secretary Michael Gove, the cross-party group London Councils highlights the government’s proposal to create a new planning ‘use class’ for properties already used as short-term lets.

Boroughs fear that automatically transferring short-term lets into this new planning category under permitted development rights will mean the overnight loss of thousands of homes from London’s permanent housing stock. London Councils estimates there are at least 43,000 short-term lets in the capital – equivalent to one in every 85 London homes – and believes a significant portion of these would qualify for the new planning category.

London Councils welcomes other aspects of the government’s action on short-term lets, which will introduce much-needed new regulation and oversight of the sector. These include a mandatory national register of properties and continued planning permission requirements for future short-term lets.

However, London Councils argues that automatically reclassifying existing short-term lets into a new planning category – the ‘C5’ use class – without requiring planning permission undermines efforts to preserve homes for residents amid worsening housing pressures and homelessness rates .

The proliferation of short-term lets means less housing for permanent residents and higher prices in London’s private rental sector, which has undergone significant turbulence in recent years.

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