The UK government has proposed new regulations that may require second homeowners to obtain planning permission for using their properties as holiday lets in popular tourist destinations in England. The objective is to prioritise local families in need of affordable housing, Sky News reported.

A consultation is underway to assess the proposal and the potential implementation of a registration scheme for holiday lets. This scheme aims to collect data and improve understanding of short-term accommodation impacts on communities.

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove stated that the proposal would assist locals in areas where high numbers of holiday lets have made affordable housing scarce. However, former levelling up secretary and Conservative MP Simon Clarke criticised the plan as “anti-business” and argued that the government should prioritise building more homes.

Announced just weeks before local elections, the proposals suggest creating a new planning use class for short-term lets not used as primary residences. Local councils would have the discretion to adopt the measure. The consultation will also explore the possibility of allowing homeowners to rent out their properties for a limited number of nights annually before needing planning permission.

Depending on the consultation’s outcome, the rules could be integrated into the government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, currently progressing through parliament, and would only apply to second homes in England.

Gove commented on the issue, saying, “Tourism brings many benefits to our economy but in too many communities we have seen local people pushed out of cherished towns, cities and villages by huge numbers of short-term lets.” He emphasised the importance of providing affordable housing options for families close to their workplaces.