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The Rules and Regulations of Short-Term Letting in London

Since Airbnb introduced their revolutionary platform about home sharing all over the year and during high season, where anyone could maximise earnings making more money from a spare room or empty apartment, the residential market changed how it was to operate forever. The online short-term rentals platform changed the way property owners in London and other major cities—or hosts—advertise and occupy properties, with the minimum of fuss and simple, smaller fees. Rental periods for full properties, which are typically months or weeks, are suddenly inundated with lets of only a few days, which are ideal for holiday lets. The way tenants— guests—started to find somewhere to stay for their short-breaks and getaways, changed indefinitely.

What are short-term lets?

Home sharing industry brings the fact that a short-term tenancy is generally considered a residential stay of a few days to a few months, which is ideal for holiday lets. Rents over 3 months are, for the most part, considered a mid- or medium-term let. Those over 6 and 12 months are considered long-term rental. Find long-term tenants who are generally unfurnished, and the tenant becomes responsible for all utilities and Greater London council tax, but that’s not set in stone. There are rental options to cover every eventuality. It depends on what works for the property owners and the demands of their tenants.

The London Specific Rule

The magic number is 90 days per year in London. That’s the number of days (90 days) a Greater London host can let their entire property each calendar year without holding the correct planning consent. If you exceed the Airbnb 90 day limit London per calendar year, whether the home-sharing period is for a couple of bookings or a substantial number of them, you’re going to need a change in planning permit to satisfy the regulators.

To apply for planning permission and issues with applications

To apply for planning permission, it’s as simple as getting in touch with your local councils. This is known as Temporary Sleeping Serviced Accommodation planning permission. You need apply online through the government site, and the process begins by selecting your borough. Each borough has its own procedure, but you will be asked housing supply, at a minimum, a flood risk assessment, land registry documents and a fee of around £400.

Your application could take up to 2 months to be approved and processed.

If you're applying for a building permission change in Greater London, there are several areas where the authorities will consider it against the flow of the neighbourhood or property. For example, when an apartment is located in a predominantly residential area or building, then a high turnover of visitors to the area can impact the sense of local communities. Any threat of crime or disturbance to the other local residents will be considered an infringement and is likely to affect the application. A steady flow of new guests will also have an impact on the local community 's typical practices: security, waste disposal, noise and acceptable behaviour. Any of these can cause disruption and would be considered a poor choice for a change in planning permission.

The process of applying for temporary sleeping serviced accommodation planning permission
Requirements and considerations for temporary sleeping serviced accommodation.

Who use a short-term serviced accommodation?

There are plenty of takers for a short- or medium-term rent, ideal for higher rate holiday lets and peak seasons. Property owners are able to take advantage of the higher prices they can achieve over those of their safer, steadier long-term tenants, but only if they can fill the properties without any gaps in their calendars. Guaranteeing high-occupancy rates can be quite the challenge for the individual operator.

Who are these renters?

· Business contractors and consultants, involved with temporary projects, conferences and training courses.

· Students on short courses, exchange programs and language study schemes.

· Work placements for candidates, company executives and young professionals.

· Fun seekers visiting festivals and sports tournaments, as well as the event participants.

All of these are in addition to the typical holiday and short-break visitor, wedding guest or celebration reveller.

No problem for room-to-rent participants

The short-term rent regulation only applies to those short letting out the entire property for short periods—whether that's a flat, apartment or house. There is no limit to the number of days or amount of rooms they are permitted to let each year. It can also impact the amount of Greater London Council tax they pay if they claim a discount or exemption.

What happens if you exceed the London 90-day Airbnb limit? Airbnb will automatically terminate your rentals.

If you've reached your 90 consecutive days limit, a planning application can take several weeks to 2 months to be processed. The term runs by each calendar year—1 January to 31 December. If you're new to short term rentals and aren't sure how it's going to go, estimate how much of the calendar you've got left to fill. If you've spotted that you're heading towards the 90-day limit, then you've still got time to get hold of your construction permit.

In January 2017, Airbnb included a new counter to keep track of their customers’ rentals. Airbnb will automatically close bookings to those who reach the 90-day limit for the rest of the year and during high season as well. To reactivate the calendar, they must submit an exemption form confirming they hold the appropriate permission.

What happens if I don’t apply for rental permission?

Whenever anyone exceeds the 90 consecutive days limit, it’s considered a breach of building permission. The unauthorised change of use carries fines of up to £20k, so you really shouldn’t take matters lightly. You may also be fined for failing to pay the correct amount of local Council Tax if you are paying anything less than the full rate for your property.

Side-step the 90-day limit in Greater London Area

You’ll find an abundance of websites telling you how to avoid having to apply for the building permission consent. Many of these are less than scrupulous and will leave you at risk of the £20k fine available for breaking the rules. However, one way to get past the red tape is to mix long-term and mid-term rents with your short-term lettings.

Mixing it up with long- and mid-term lets

A mid-term let is a single stay of over 3 months. A forward-thinking host or property management specialist such as UpperKey will manage their property to fill it for the maximum rates during the busiest periods to make the most of the 90-day limit. For the rest of the year, the property is occupied utilising mid- and long-term lets in London and other cities using longer periods rental based websites. Such websites are Zoopla or Rightmove to find their tenants.

Your property short-term let checklist

It’s important not to enter into any form of property letting without thorough investigation.

The popular advertising multiple platforms provide an opportunity to create a rental agreement, but not everything you incorporate in them is enforceable by law. Looking into the legal rights for hosts and guests alike should be high on your to-do list.

Here are a few of the items that you should be considering when looking into letting a property for any duration in outer London:

1.Fire safety

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 makes landlords/hosts responsible for providing adequate fire protection for the premises. You must carry out a fire risk assessment and keep it up to date.

2.Gas safety

Property owners/hosts of the major cities must have their properties inspected each year. The inspection must be carried out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer who will provide the landlord with a safety certificate. Your certificate must be displayed for short lets of less than 28 occupied nights per year, and a copy supplied to tenants for periods longer than that.


All wiring and appliances must be safe to use by all residents. Your electrical appliances and general powers should also be regularly PAT tested.

4.Holding the correct permission

You may need permission from your mortgage provider, landlord or the freeholder of the property if you’re planning to offer short-term rents. Any change of usage may invalidate your insurance policy, and also the local authorities may have unique specific local regulations with which you must comply. Research all areas thoroughly. You wouldn’t want to miss any small detail that could turn out to be a costly mistake.

5.Paying the correct taxes

The profit from your short-term tenancy business is liable for income tax. Make sure you understand the HMRC rules. You must be confident that you’re paying the correct amount, and not breaking the law regarding any additional income. Failing to pay the correct amount of income tax can result in heavy fines and backdated taxes.

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Leave the difficult work to the experts. Allow UpperKey to handle all the details.

Making a profit from short-term or long-term rental in Greater London Area can create an incredible amount of hard work. You’ll have to learn the legalities of the system, meet and greet your guests for check-ins and departures, make sure the apartment is cleaned and ready for new arrivals, organise marketing and make sure you have tenants for as much of the year as possible.

By engaging with our incredible property management service, you don’t have to lift a finger. We do all the hard work, and on top of that, we guarantee you rent for every week of your contract. Contact us today to start reaping the benefits.


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