Monday, 9 February 2015

Short-term use of residential property in London

I have blogged on this topic several times in the past year, but I was wondering why the journos on the Evening Standard were getting excited on this subject in an article in today’s edition of the paper. The Deregulation Bill, which will enable the Secretary of State to relax the rules on short-term lettings in Greater London is still in the House of Lords, and the third day of the Report Stage is not due until Wednesday of this week, so Royal Assent is unlikely to be achieved until after both houses come back from their half term break after 23 February. By my calculation, that isn’t going to leave time for subordinate legislation to be laid before parliament so as to come into effect before the General Election (although I am open to correction on this, if any of you know better).

So what exactly prompted today’s article in the ES? I think it must have been De-CLoG’s publication today of a document entitled “ Promoting the sharing economy in London - Policy on short-term use of residential property in London”, which is yet another expression of the government’s wishful thinking, without actually telling us when we can expect the promised change to come about (if indeed it ever does, given the uncertainty over the likely result of the General Election).

The position today is, and will remain for the time being, that short-term lets (of less than 90 days) in Greater London are a material change of use (to a sui generis use) which requires planning permission. The ES seems to think that the change in the law is immediate, but it is not even imminent. That could conceivably change, but I am still not betting on its happening this side of the General Election; and what will happen after that is beyond the wit of man to foretell.


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