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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. It’s needed to allow you to carry out specific types of development or changes to a property. This includes building something new, adding an extension, knocking down a building, or making a change to 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.

The planning process is important as it ensures all work carried out is consistent with local planning policies and regulations.  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).

Do I need planning permission for a holiday let?

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 to change a residential property into a 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:

  • What the planning class and use of the building is classified as
  • Whether there are any letting clauses associated with the land and building
  • 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. Take a look at some of the most popular types of conversions below:

Shepherd’s Huts, Lodges, Yurts, and Cabins

Over the past few years, staying in unique and interesting accommodation has become extremely popular. If you have a lot of land, adding a couple of shepherd’s huts or glamping pods are great ways to generate additional income.

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.

Our blog titled Is a glamping business a good investment? will give you more insight into these popular holiday let accommodations.


Got a dilapidated or unused outbuilding on your property? Turning it into a holiday let can be a brilliant and rewarding experience. Whether it’s a shed or garage, turning into self-catering accommodation is a fantastic way to earn an additional income. If you decide to do this, planning permission will be required as well as a request for a ‘change of use’.

Residential Properties

If you have a second home, turning it into a holiday let is another lucrative way to generate an income. But, there are some unique differences to letting it as a holiday rental instead of a domestic rental.

Depending on the rules and regulations that apply to the dwelling as well as the class it falls under will determine whether you need to apply for planning permission. We always recommend you check with the local planning authorities.

In most cases though, you will require planning permission if the ‘material change of use’ in a property is from a residential dwelling to a holiday let. You will also want to check any covenants and restrictions that are written on the property’s deeds don’t prohibit it from being used as a holiday let.

Permitted Development Rights and What Are They?

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.

Planning Permission in Conservation Areas

Holiday letting agency devon

When considering planning permission for a holiday let, one thing you will need to bear in mind as a homeowner is whether your property is in a designated area, including:

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

If so, your permitted development rights might be more restricted. If in doubt, you can find out whether your property is in a protected area of the countryside via the gov website.

How to 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 lasts for 3 years. If conversion/works haven’t been carried out within this time frame, you will need to reapply.

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

The cost of submitting a planning application varies throughout the UK. To get the most accurate figures, it’s best to check with your local planning authorities. Below are some examples of current fees:

    • Simple change of use in England: £96
    • Full application for a new single dwelling or outline planning permission per 0.1 hectare in England: £462
    • Householder application in England: £206

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

Important elements to consider when letting your holiday property

Holiday let mortgages

Many mortgage providers may impose restrictions regarding sub-letting. Take a read of our holiday home mortgage advice blog, where we spoke to mortgage expert Chris Towell.

Holiday let insurance

You might not realise this but most holiday lets are not covered under standard home insurance. This is because the risks of a holiday rental are seen as greater than a main residence that’s occupied throughout the year.

Double-check your current policy and if holiday rentals are not covered, do a search online for insurers that will cover landlord’s indemnity and health and safety criteria. Here at Helpful Holidays, our holiday lets team can help recommend insurers  for your holiday let.

Council tax and business rates

Just like any business where you generate an income, you need to pay tax to the relevant authorities. This is the same for a holiday letting business, however, different types of holiday accommodation are treated differently in terms of tax.

It’s super important that you understand what the distinction is. Our blog on Holiday Home Council Tax will help provide clarity on which would apply to your situation.

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 even 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.

Please Note: The information contained in this article was accurate at the time of writing, based on our research. Rules, criteria and regulations change all the time, so please contact our prospective new owner team if you’d like to hear how. Nothing in this article constitutes the giving of financial, tax or legal advice to you; please consult your own professional advisor (accountant, lawyer etc). in this regard. If we have referred within the article to a third-party provider of unregulated holiday let mortgages, this is due to the fact that such mortgages aren’t currently regulated by the FCA. 

As a helpful reminder, your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage, so again anything you decide to do in this particular area this is one on which you should take your own professional advice on too, as we aren’t providing and can’t provide you with this.