Short term letting or licensing takes place in London to provide accommodation for tourists, shoppers and business people. However, owners may be surprised to learn that such arrangements can require planning permission. That’s what section 25 Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1973 says.

The government is proposing to amend the Deregulation Bill to give the Secretary of State power to make an order to disapply section 25. There will be two stages to go through before we see any change: first the passing of the Deregulation Bill; second the Secretary of State making an order relaxing the section 25 restrictions. Furthermore, the government press release says the Secretary of State will be able to make a selective order. This would mean the relaxation applying only to selected areas or types of property. In addition, the Secretary will have discretion to allow councils to reapply the restriction to particular locations within their area or to particular types of property. This is to avoid unregulated changes of houses to hotels or hostels.

One possible interpretation of section 25 is that it only restricts lettings by businesses not private householders. However, the government press release assumes it applies to all such arrangements. We shall have to see whether any regulations ever make their way onto the statute book.