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Short-term lets now require a licence

This is a new legal requirement for hosts who let out accommodation to guests who stay on a temporary basis.

Short term lets graphic with the wording "Holiday home, flat, yurt, cottage, B and B, lodge, caravan, spare room".

What is the new licensing scheme? 

From 1 October 2023 you must have a licence before you offer short-term lets. You must have a licence before you can take bookings or recieve guests

Operating without a short-term let licence is a criminal offence. You could get a fine of £2,500 and be banned from applying for a licence for a year. You would not able to offer lets during this period.

The new licence is a legal obligation, even if you occasionally let out a spare room or sub-let while on holiday for example.  

Find out more about the licensing scheme

When do I need to apply for a licence?

If you're a new host

From 1 October 2023 you must have a licence before you offer shot-term lets. All new hosts need a licence before they can accept bookings and welcome guests.  Councils have up to 9 months to process applications for new hosts. 

If you were hosting before 1 October 2023

If you were already using your accommodation to provide short-term lets before 1 October 2023 and applied for a licence before 1 October 2023,  you can continue letting your accommodation while the council is processing your application.

Councils have up to 12 months to process applications from existing hosts, and can apply to a court for more time if there is a good reason.

If you were a host before 1 October 2023 and have not yet applied for a licence, you must stop accepting bookings and welcoming guests until you have a licence.

Find out more about short-term let licences

A graphic of a computer with an application form on screen.

How do I apply for a licence?

You will need to apply for a licence from the local council in which your accommodation is located.  

If you offer more than one short-term let, each may need a separate licence even if they are in the same council area.  

Find your local council and start applying now


What do I need to know before applying?

  • Your accommodation will need to meet mandatory conditions. Your local council may also set additional conditions.
  • If your accommodation is in a short-term let control area, it is a condition of the licence to have, or have applied for, planning permission. If it is not in a control area, and you do not have planning permission, you may still require this in order to obtain a short-term licence. You should check with your local council planning department to find out.
  • Local councils run their short-term let licensing scheme based on cost-recovery only. Licence fees will vary across different local councils and may depend on the size and capacity of your accommodation.

Find out more about the licensing requirements and short-term let control areas

A graphic of application checkboxes and houses.
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