planning permission for a holiday let

Do I need planning permission for a holiday let (change of use from a house to a holiday let)?

In short, there is no definitive answer here and it depends on local planning regulations. Planning permission is required for a ‘material’ change of use, i.e if you are going from one use class to another. The issue is that holiday lets are sometimes classified in different ways.

It is often interpreted that a holiday let will be in the same use class as a typical dwellinghouse (Class C3) IF the occupancy is less than six and the house is let as an entire home to a single group.


What’s the use class for a holiday let?

There is no official list of use classes so it is therefore open to interpretation of the above legislation. There are sometimes disputes (and it varies between local planning authorities) about which use class a building should fall under. In this case, it’s best to engage an architect or planning consultant to advise and liaise on your behalf.

As outlined above, holiday lets are commonly classified as C3 (which is the same as a dwellinghouse, and therefore not requiring a change of use application). However, in some circumstances, holiday lets could also be classed as either SUI GENERIS or C1.




Most households (single person, couple or family) would fall under C3(a), except for those living together as a single household and receiving care, which would be C3(b).

Those living in a group without care is C3(c). This could be a household with a lodger or a religious group (but not an HMO as described below).



CLASS C4 (up to 6 people)

Large houses in multiple occupation (seven or more) will be under SUI GENERIS


Hotels and B&Bs


Hostels, however, would be under SUI GENERIS




Unique uses that cannot be put into another class, or miscellaneous.


Holiday lets in Scotland

In Scotland, it’s now mandatory for owners of holiday lets (including Airbnbs) to obtain a licence from their local authority. See here for the mandatory licensing scheme and dates for implementation:

The whole of the City of Edinburgh Council area has been designated as a Short-term Let Control Area. The use of an entire dwelling – that is not a principal home as a short-term let will be a material change of use requiring planning permission. If you are already letting your property, and do not have planning permission use as a holiday let, its likely that a retrospective planning application will be required.


10 Year Rule – holiday let change of use

If the holiday let has been used as such for more than ten years, you may not need a change of use planning application in any of the above circumstances.

You can apply for a certificate of lawfulness to confirm this. You would need to prove that the property has been consistently in use solely as a holiday let for more than 10 years prior to the application, that the use has not intensified or increased during those years and no formal enforcement action has been taken in the respect of its use.


Work with an architect

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