Legal Requirements for Airbnb in the UK

legal requirements for airbnb uk

By The Hospitable Team

Putting your house on Airbnb can be lucrative, but you should remember that every host is bound by UK laws and local rules that apply to short-term rentals. Legal requirements for Airbnb in the UK vary; some regions are stricter than others.

That’s why it’s crucial to understand how Airbnb regulations work in your UK city before renting out any space to guests on a short-term basis. Remember to follow the laws and other rules that apply to your specific circumstances and locale.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most important legal requirements for Airbnb hosts in the UK to give you some general guidance. However, we don’t provide legal advice, and STR laws are constantly changing, so we recommend you do some research to find out more. You should also contact your local government to learn about your jurisdiction’s laws and regulations or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.

If you’re looking for an ideal Airbnb city or market in the UK that is worth investing in, check out our blog article, where you can find information about the average Airbnb occupancy rate in UK cities and regions.

Legal Requirements for Airbnb in the UK Cities and Regions
As more and more travelers choose to stay in vacation rentals during their trips, local governments in different countries worldwide are taking measures to regulate short-term rentals operating within their borders. Airbnb rentals in the UK are also subject to specific laws, regulations, and taxes, and if you want to start hosting on Airbnb to earn extra income, you need to comply with them.

By following the legal requirements for Airbnb in the UK and taking the necessary steps to ensure safety measures, you’ll be well-equipped to provide an enjoyable experience for your guests and become a successful host. Automating your daily repetitive tasks using vacation rental software like Hospitable can make your STR business more efficient and save a lot of time and effort.

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Different cities and regions in the UK have unique rules that apply to short-term rentals. For example, Greater London has a planning restriction that affects short-term rentals in the 32 London boroughs and the City. Renting out your residential property short-term means using it as temporary sleeping accommodation. This is considered a material change of use of your property for which planning permission is required.

Still, the Deregulation Act of 2015 introduced an exception known as the “90-day rule”. It allows you to use your residential property for short-term rental for 90 days or nights or less in a calendar year. Remember that Airbnb automatically limits entire home listings in Greater London to 90 nights a year unless you prove that you have planning permissions that allow you to host more frequently.

Other locations in the UK, such as Blackpool, cities in Scotland, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Jersey, and Guernsey also have their own specific STR regulations. Typically, you need to obtain a license to use your property for short-term rental letting.

For example, hosts in Scotland need to apply for a license from the relevant local authority before accepting bookings. Operating an Airbnb without a short-term let license is considered a criminal offense. You could get a fine of £2,500 and be banned from applying for a permit for a year.

The law says short-term rental accommodation in Scotland must meet certain mandatory conditions to get a license. It must meet the Repairing Standard for houses and flats, hold a valid Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate, and have building insurance and public liability insurance.

Remember that local councils in Scotland can also set extra conditions and decide the cost of a short-term let license in their areas. You should check your local council’s website for more information and determine whether your listing requires planning permission.

According to The Tourism (Northern Ireland) Order 1992, you can’t provide tourist accommodation as a business without a valid certificate issued by Tourism Northern Ireland (Tourism NI). If your Airbnb property falls into any of the regulated accommodation categories, you need to apply for a certificate. Tourism NI will inspect your home, and you’ll be charged a fee.

Before listing your UK property on Airbnb, you must also ensure you have the correct permissions. For example, if you have a mortgage, you may need permission from your mortgage provider. If you rent your property, you’ll need permission from your landlord. And if your property is leasehold (for example, if you own a flat), you need to seek permission from the freeholder.

Additionally, you should purchase proper insurance tailored for short-term rentals. Check out our guide on Airbnb insurance in the UK to learn about your options as a homeowner and find answers to common questions.

Airbnb Regulations in the UK: New STR Rules in England Announced by the Government

Under the government’s plans, future UK Airbnb properties will be subject to the new STR  laws, which the platform has welcomed. These laws will give local councils greater power to control short-term rentals in their area by making them subject to the planning process.

People who have properties in tourist hotspots in England will need to obtain planning permission from local authorities under a new “use” category to convert their homes into short-term holiday lets. These rules would not apply to people renting out their main home for 90 days or less in a year.

The government also plans to introduce a new mandatory national register across England to give local authorities the information they need about short-term rentals in their area. The registration scheme for short-term lets will be delivered primarily online.

These measures are focused on short-term rentals, so the planning changes and the register will not affect hotels, hostels, or B&Bs.

Responding to the changes, Airbnb welcomed the new rules as a significant step forward. They hope a new nationwide registration system will increase transparency for communities, hosts, and guests and protect ordinary people who host to earn additional income that helps them keep up with rising living costs.

According to Airbnb, the typical host earns almost £5,500 a year. But you can earn more if you list your property on other OTAs and create your direct booking website. If you opt for Hospitable, you can manage all your listings from a single platform and won’t have to hustle between a multiple websites constantly.

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Is Airbnb Considered Commercial Use in the UK?

The short answer is yes. Even if you started your Airbnb just as a way to earn extra money to cover your household expenses or fund your holidays, being a host is like running a small business. That means you are legally required to pay taxes on the money you earn, just like any business owner.

If you own the property personally and rent it out through Airbnb and its alternatives in the UK, everything you make is considered taxable. If you own the STR property through a limited company, profits on the rental will also be taxable.

Any money you earn as an Airbnb host may be subject to different national taxes, such as income tax, business rates, corporation tax, or VAT. Since 1 January 2024, online platforms like Airbnb have been required to report UK Host earnings for tax purposes.

Remember that your tax obligations vary based on specific circumstances, so it’s a complex topic. You should research your tax obligations or consult a tax consultant for more specific information.

airbnb average occupancy rate

Airbnb Average Occupancy Rate in the UK Market

One of the most important metrics you should consider when choosing a market and checking out prospective investment properties is the Airbnb average occupancy rate by city. Read the article to learn about the occupancy rate in different UK cities and regions.

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