What each political party promises for the future of the short term lets

21 June 2024

62% of letting agents think more powers are needed for short-term lets. But are the political parties promising this in their general election manifestos?

A report with Goodlord and the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) found that 62% of surveyed letting agents believe more controls are needed for short-term lets.

But in the run-up to the general election, does each political party agree? As the top seven parties have released their manifestos, we can see what each has suggested as a guide for the future of short-term lets.

Want to know what each party thinks? Read our guide:

What do letting agents and landlords think of short-term lets?

While the popularity of short-term lets has increased over the past years, they have also come under the spotlight with the Government.

Before the general election, the Government responded to concerns surrounding over-tourism and reduced supply of private rented accommodation.

To mitigate the increase, there have been calls to control the growth of short-term lets at a local level. In a report with Goodlord and the NRLA, 62% of letting agents believe introducing these controls would be beneficial.

In comparison, 19% of letting agents disagree and believe any short-term lets controls are unnecessary for the sector.

39% of landlords agree that more powers are needed to control short-term lets, which outweighs the 28% who gave a clear “No” to local controls.

Where are we now with short-term lets?

The Government has defined a short-term rental property as the following:

  • A property, or part of a property, which is provided by a person (“the host”) to another person (“the guest”)
    • For use by the guest as accommodation other than the guest’s only principal residence
    • In return for payment (whether or not by the guest)
    • In the course of a trade or business carried on by the host

A statement was published in February 2024 promising to deliver “the legal framework for a registration scheme through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023”.

This legal framework includes a mandatory national registration scheme provided at a local level across all of England. The data from this scheme will help local authorities identify how many short-term lets are in an area, which will help address the community and housing impacts.

A “use class” will also be introduced for homeowners to let out their main or sole home for up to 90 days a year.

However, with the general election announced, it is unclear when these new measures will be introduced.

The Labour Party's promises for short-term lets

The Labour manifesto promises to deliver “Change” to the United Kingdom, which has been divided into five key missions.

While they have mentioned certain promises they wish to achieve within the private rental sector, short-term lets are noticeably absent within the manifesto.

This does not mean that if elected, the party won’t address the issue of short-term lets, they just have yet to promise any further action.

Find out everything a letting agent needs to know about the Labour Party manifesto

The Conservative Party's promises for short-term lets

If re-elected, the Conservatives aim to bring back and pass the Renters (Reform) Bill through Parliament.

There will be implications for short-term lets if the Renters (Reform) Bill were to pass.

One of the key amendments of the Renters (Reform) Bill was to “prevent landlords from letting their property as short-term or holiday accommodation for three months after using the possession grounds to move into or sell their property”.

In the manifesto, the Conservatives have promised to ensure “councils have the powers they need to manage the uncontrolled growth of holiday lets”. However, it is not clear how they will implement this. 

Everything a letting agent needs to know about the Conservative Party manifesto

The Reform Party's promises for short-term lets

The Reform Party aim to ensure that “people can own their own home by unleashing housebuilding across the country and cutting immigration”.

One of the main promises made in the manifesto was to abolish the Renters’ (Reform) Bill as it is “inadequate to address bad practices” within the private rental sector.

Instead, the Reform Party plans to boost monitoring, appeals and enforcement processes that renters experience.

Find out everything a letting agent needs to know about the Reform Party manifesto

The Liberal Democrats Party's promises for short-term lets

For short-term lets, the Liberal Democrats have promised local authorities new powers to control second homes and short-term lets in their area.

Unlike other political parties, the Liberal Democrats have been clear in how they would achieve this:

  • Allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500%, where homes are bought as second homes, with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties.
  • Create a new planning class for these properties.

Everything a letting agent needs to know about the Liberal Democrats Party manifesto

The Green Party promises for short-term lets

In their manifesto, The Green Party haven’t mentioned any plans with short-term lets that would affect landlords and letting agents.

They have mentioned the plans for the private rental sector in “Our Fair Deal for Renters”, which cover rent controls, an end to no-fault evictions, and private residential tenancy boards.

Find out everything a letting agent needs to know about the Green Party manifesto

The Plaid Cymru Party promises for short-term lets

Plaid Cymru’s manifesto has focused heavily on holiday homes within Wales. 

Previously, the party has supported various actions that tackle the challenge of second and holiday homes. 

In Wales, local authorities require registration of a change of use for a property. Plaid Cymru now wishes to introduce a cap on the number of second and holiday homes in the Welsh community.

In their manifesto, Plaid Cymru is now looking to close any loopholes to allow holiday homes to pretend to be a legitimate lettings business.

Find out everything a letting agent needs to know about the Plaid Cymru Party manifesto

The Scottish National Party promises for short-term lets

Similar to the Green Party, the Scottish National Party does not mention short-term lets in their manifesto. 

However, the party do mention an annual uplift of Local Housing Allowance, and scrapping the bedroom tax.

Everything a letting agent needs to know about the Scottish National Party manifesto

Further reading