As we all know the Olympic games is due to take place in London next year. Many landlords and home owners are looking forward to renting out their properties for high prices during the games.
However watch out – you may be letting yourself in for a massive fine. Because some Councils won’t allow it.
“How come?” you might say, “Its my property, surely I can do what I like with it?” Well, yes, but not if it is in breach of the planning regulations.
Now I’m not a planning lawyer, but it appears that in some areas, if you want to let out a property for less than 90 days you need to get permission first. (Although I confess am having difficulty finding the right legal authority – can anyone help?)
“But hang on” you might say, “my mate Flossie regularly lets out her home in Wimbledon over the summer, so why can’t I let let out my house in Peckham?”.
Well that’s because Merton Council (which covers the Wimbledon area) doesn’t object to short lets, but Southwark Council (which covers Peckham) does.
To be fair, the Councils are not doing this just to maliciously prevent people earning a quick buck from the Olympics. There are problems that come when an area has a lot of short lets – people take less pride in an area when they are only gong to be there for a short time and long term residents complain about increased crime, litter, late night noise and general disruption.
Westminster, for example, has had a policy of discouraging short lets for years – this leaflet for example is dated 2008.
However it does seem unfair that the rules vary so much across London. BBC London did a survey recently and found that although 27 Councils said that they did not object to short term lets, the others are threatening enforcement notices and large fines for short lets without permission.
So if you are considering letting out your home over the Olympic games period, think again if you live in any of these areas:
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Tower Hamlets
I did wonder, by the way, whether a possible solution might not be a six month fixed term with a break clause. However I suspect that this might be found invalid if it was clear that the actual period of let was never intended to be longer than a few weeks.
Are any planning lawyers able to comment?
[Note – I have now been told it is S.25 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973 provides (as amended by s.4 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1983) and given case reference Hyde Park Residence Ltd v. Secretary of Stage for the Environment, transport and regions v. Westminster City Council  – meaning that the problem is confined to the London area]
[Further note – Islington BC have contacted me to confirm that they do NOT require homeowners to apply for planning permission before letting out their homes for the Olympics]