Guide to holiday let planning permissions

Written by Nick Grant


Published on 5th June 2023


Last Updated on 23rd February 2024


Read time: 6 minutes

The UK staycation market is growing rapidly, and it’s easy to see why. Holiday rentals can offer huge business opportunities alongside a steady, reliable income. If you’re one of the many looking to invest in a holiday rental, ironing out the finer details first may be important. Before you start prepping your home for guests, there are several legalities you should consider—including planning permission.

In this article, we’ll run through the rules surrounding planning permission and holiday lets, how much it costs, and how to apply to help your holiday let preparations go as smoothly as possible.

Do you need planning permission for a holiday let?

Planning permission is required by law if homeowners make significant developmental changes to their buildings. This can include the following:

  • Building something new, such as an outbuilding
  • Adding an extension onto a property
  • Changing the use of your building (e.g., change of use from residential to holiday let)

However, planning permission is assessed by individual local authorities, so it’s not a straightforward process. For example, some locations may require you to seek planning permission for specific changes, while others don’t. It can also depend on the structure and type of building. In addition, certain projects don’t require planning permission because they have permitted development rights’. This means you can make changes, such as an extension to your building, without planning permission.

As we’ve mentioned, however, local authorities assess planning permission on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, it depends on your circumstances, so you must check with your council beforehand.

Planning permission for existing holiday lets

If you already own a building used as a holiday let, or purchase a home used for letting purposes, you likely won’t need planning permission. This is because the building has no change of use since it’s already used for paying guests.

That said, you’ll need to check the existing use of the building and planning class first. Contact your local planning authority (LPA) or check your building’s details on the planning portal website.

It’s important to note that if you plan on making significant developmental changes to the holiday let, such as a large extension, you may need planning permission regardless of the current planning class and use.

Planning permission for new holiday lets

If you’re letting your home to paying guests for the first time, you may need to seek planning permission first. For instance, if the house was your primary residence and you’ll be using it as a short-term rental, this may be classed as a change of use under planning regulations.

Likewise, adding an extension or outbuilding, or building property on unused land may be considered a change of use. As such, you’d need to seek planning permission from your local authority.

Before renting out your property, consider checking the following:

  • The planning class and use of the building via the planning portal website
  • Any letting clauses or restrictions associated with your building
  • Any restrictions imposed by your mortgage provider regarding letting out your building

Further to the above, the UK government has recently published plans that would change planning permission rules for new rentals. These rules mean that any property used as a holiday let or overnight stay would need planning permission.

Currently, many short-term rentals don’t require planning permission, which is limiting access to affordable housing for many communities. The government has responded with a proposal to revise current rules, giving local authorities greater control over the number of short-term rentals in their area. If you’re considering a new rental property, contacting your local planning department for advice is worthwhile.

How do I apply for planning permission for a holiday let?

You’ll need to head to the planning portal website to submit a planning application. Here, you can provide more details about the change of use and your plans to create a holiday let. In addition, the website asks you a series of questions to help guide you on the type of application you need to submit and which council to send your application to.

Usually, applications are decided within eight weeks. However, if your council receives a large influx of requests, it could take up to 13 weeks. Regardless of the decision, you’ll receive a letter via post to notify you of the outcome.

Typically, your application will include the following:

  • Plans of your site
  • Supporting documentation, such as surveys, photographs, and community involvement plans
  • Completed forms
  • A planning permission fee

How long does planning permission last?

Usually, planning permission is valid for three years from when the local authority grants your request. You can start work at any point within this time. However, you may need to reapply if you haven’t done any work after three years. You’ll also need to submit another application if you plan to carry out works not covered in the scope.

How much does planning permission for a holiday let cost?

Planning permission costs vary depending on what you’re applying for. You can calculate your fee using the planning portal calculator for a more accurate guide. However, as a general rule, planning permission fees for holiday lets are as follows:

  • £96 for change of use
  • £462 for a full planning application
  • £206 for a householder application

What else should I consider when letting out my holiday home?

Planning permission isn’t the only thing you might need to think about before launching your holiday let. In fact, there are many rules, regulations, and factors you may need to consider. First, check that your mortgage provider permits you to let out your property. Buy-to-let mortgages are different from residential mortgages, so you may need to transfer your mortgage or get permission from your lender.

Another important aspect to consider when owning a short-term rental is holiday home insurance. Letting out a property to guests can bring you extra income but it can also add risks. In particular, your property is at greater risk of damage, liability claims, and theft if left unattended for long periods. At Intasure, we offer specialist holiday let insurance policies help to protect your investment and you from financial loss.

Finally, owning a holiday let means different rules for council tax and business rates. As the owner, you’re responsible for paying taxes to the necessary authorities, but these differ depending on the type of holiday let you offer. If you’re unsure, speak to your local council for advice.


The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Intasure accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.

Nick Grant is a Business Development Manager at Intasure with 10 years of insurance experience.