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Planning permission for holiday lets - barn conversion

Are you thinking of making the most of the surge in the UK staycation market by letting your house as a holiday home, adding an annex or converting an unused barn into self-catering accommodation? If so, you will need to check the rules carefully to determine whether your local authority requires you to have planning permission for holiday lets.

Here we explore what planning permission is, look at some of the most popular types of conversions and how to determine whether your project needs planning permission in the first place.


Planning permission for holiday lets

Read on for all you need to know about planning permission for holiday lets or use the quick links below to find out about a specific topic:


What is planning permission and why is it important?

Planning permission is the approval often required from your local authority if you are building something new, making a major change to a building such as extension on your holiday home or changing the overall use of the building.

The planning process is to ensure that there is a controlled and sustainable development with the UK. As well as ensuring strong protections are in place to conserve and enhance the natural and historic environment.

Decisions on whether to grant planning permission are made in line with national guidance (in the form of the National Planning Policy Framework) and the local planning policies set out by the local authority.


Do I need planning permission for a holiday let?

Planning permission and building regulations are the essential first steps if you are considering starting a holiday letting business. So, it’s key to understand whether it applies to your individual situation.

Planning permission for existing holiday lets

If you already have a property or become the owner of one that is used as a holiday let and don’t intend to make any physical changes, then it does not need planning permission. This is because there is no ‘change of use’ to the building.

Planning permission change of use residential to holiday let

If you’re letting your home to guests for the first time, converting an existing structure, or building a property on unused land, you will need to check the following:

  1. What the planning class and use of the building is classified as
  2. Whether there are any letting clauses associated with the land and building
  3. Whether your mortgage lender has any letting restrictions

You should contact the planning department for advice if you are considering starting a new business or converting or extending your property. To find whether a project will need planning permission, check with your local planning authority (LPA) or access the Planning Portal here.


Types of holiday let conversions

Shepherds Hut Holiday Let

There are many property types which can be converted to holiday lets. Some of the most popular types of conversions are outlined below and details on whether or not they will need planning permission.

Converting an outbuilding into a holiday let

Creating a holiday let from an unused or dilapidated outbuilding is a brilliant and rewarding experience. Turning a shed or garage into self-catering accommodation is a great way to earn additional income. Planning permission will be required for any alterations to your outbuildings and a ‘change of use’ may need to be applied for.

Converting residential properties into holiday cottages

Converting a residential property into a holiday accommodation is another lucrative way to generate an income. But, letting out a property as a holiday cottage has unique differences to renting a domestic property. Depending on the rules and regulations that apply to the dwelling and what class it falls under, you will need to check whether you’d need to apply for planning permission.

In most cases you will require planning permission if the ‘material change of use’ in a property is from residential dwelling changing to a holiday let.

Occasionally covenants and restrictions are written into a property’s deeds, that prohibit it from being used as a holiday let. It’s advisable to first speak to your local council’s planning department if you are in any doubt as to whether you need planning permission.

Using lodges, yurts, shepherd huts and cabins for holiday accommodation

Over the past few years, holidaying in unique and interesting accommodation has become extremely popular and is another fantastic way to join the holiday letting fraternity.

More often than not, if you decide to build or convert log cabins, shepherds’ huts or glamping pods into holiday accommodation these will require planning permission. However, if a structure is only temporary, such as a yurt or tipi, planning permission isn’t always required if certain rules are adhered to.

Permitted Development Rights

There are instances when converting building projects do not need planning permission. This is known as Permitted Development Rights.

Permitted Development Rights allow certain buildings to be converted from agricultural to residential without having to apply for planning permission.

This automatic grant of planning permission allows certain building works and ‘changes of use’ to be carried out without a planning permission. It’s a popular choice for farmers or landowners wishing to diversify their land.

Although these rights remove the need for planning permission, a prior approval notice must still be brought to the attention of the relevant local authorities. The notice must include details of any alterations to the outside appearance of the building.

Read our blog about how to convert a barn into a holiday cottage for the particulars on this topic.

What if a property is listed or in an area of conservation?

Holiday letting agency devon

It’s important that home owners bear in mind that permitted development rights may be more restricted in designated areas, including:

  • Conservation Areas
  • National Parks
  • An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • A World Heritage Site
  • Norfolk or Suffolk Broads

If in doubt, find out whether your property is in a protected area of the countryside.


Where can I apply for planning permission for holiday lets?

The simplest way to make a planning application is online via the Planning Portal. This website presents you with a series of simple questions to establish the type of application you need to make and to which council you must apply.


How long does planning permission last?

Planning permission, once approved will expire after a certain time period — normally three years from the date full consent is granted. If the conversion/works haven’t been started within this time, you will have to reapply.


How much does it cost for holiday let planning permission UK?

The cost of submitting a planning application varies across the UK and it’s best to check with your local authority for an accurate amount. An example of some of the current fees are as follows:

  • £96 for a simple change of use in England.
  • £462 for a full application for a new single dwelling or outline planning permission per 0.1 hectare in England
  • £206 for a householder application in England

Visit the Government Website for details on fees for planning applications.


Important elements to consider when letting your holiday property

Holiday let mortgages

If you have a mortgage on the property, the type of loan you require for a holiday let is different to that of a normal residential property. So, whether you already own or are looking to change the use of the property, you should check that the mortgage provider allows it.

Many mortgage providers may impose restrictions regarding sub-letting. For more insight on the topic, read our blog on holiday home mortgage advice with expert Chris Towell.

Holiday let insurance

Most holiday lets will not be covered under a standard home insurance. This is because the risks of a holiday home are seen as greater than a main residence which is occupied throughout the year. You should contact your insurers as you won’t be covered under domestic insurance for landlord’s indemnity and health and safety criteria will require cover.

Council tax and business rates

Having a holiday home that you let to customers will mean you are responsible for paying tax to the relevant authorities. But different types of holiday accommodation are treated differently for tax purposes. So, it’s important to understand what the distinction is. For clarity on which would apply to your situation, read our blog on holiday home council tax.


Ready to start your holiday letting journey?

At Helpful Holidays, our team of holiday letting experts are on hand to offer advice, helping those looking to start a holiday letting business in Devon or Somerset.

Here are a few information guides that can help you on your way.

For more useful tips, head over to our Owner Advice blog.

At Helpful Holidays, our team of holiday letting experts are on hand to offer advice. We’re happy to help answer any questions you may have on a particular subject. Find out more about letting with us, request your FREE guide or call our team on 01647 433593 today.