Residential Newsletter - Summer 2021

Residential Newsletter - Summer 2021

Holiday lettings and planning permission

With staycations at an all-time high, demand for holiday cottages or homes away from home have outstripped supply in certain areas of the UK. Property owners may be considering how to tap into the UK holiday letting market. One key factor to bear in mind is how planning permission may apply to short-term holiday lets.

Planning permission is required where there is a material change of use of any buildings or land. An exception to this requirement is where the property has a change of use within the same Use Class outlined in the Town and Country Planning Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) (the framework determining what the property may be used for). Such a change will not constitute development, however, planning permission may be needed for alterations to the property to facilitate the change of use. A use not within a particular. Use Class falls within the ‘sui generis’ category. Changing to and from a ‘sui generis’ use requires specific planning permission. Residential properties are authorised for use as a dwelling house (whether or not a sole or main residence) by Class C3.

The courts have previously considered whether the letting of a dwelling house for short-term holidays constituted a material change or not. In Moore v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and another [2012] EWCA Civ 1202 planning permission had been obtained for a former hospital complex to be converted to an eight bedroom residential dwelling.

After eight years as a family home, the property was offered for short-term holiday lets. Sussex County Council issued an enforcement notice on the grounds that there had been a change of use without planning  permission – from Class C3(a) to sui generis (commercial leisure accommodation). The owner appealed and was unsuccessful in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which found that the change of use was material and the letting business must cease.

Whilst the Court of Appeal agreed that it is possible for holiday accommodation to fall within use Class C3, it is a matter of fact and degree in each case, including the particular characteristics of the letting, whether this amounts to a material change of use or not.Failing to obtain planning permission, where required, may lead to enforcement action being taken against the property owner. It is expensive to defend against enforcement action and, should planning permission be ultimately refused, this can prevent the use of the property for short term holiday lets.

If you require further advice on this, please contact Polly Wisner in our Planning team on 0345 050 3685 or by emailing Polly Wisner.

The Core Residential Team

If you require further advice on matters covered in this or previous editions of our Residential Newsletter, please contact  a member of our  residential team.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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