Serviced Apartment Planning Permission

What special planing permission is required for serviced apartments?

Short Let Consulting Ltd have conducted research into the legalities of operating serviced in London boroughs. 

We are pleased to collaborate with planning consultant with over 10 years’ experience and focus on hotels and other forms of serviced accommodation, alongside retail and business space.

On behalf of clients, typically investors and developers, we seek planning permission to enable the delivery of their property strategies. We provide planning strategy advice to support development projects and asset management. 

This can involve providing pre-acquisition due diligence advice, seeking to protect client’s assets from enforcement action, or regularising an asset’s planning position prior to its sale.

We do not advocate using a property for purposes other than those it was originally designed, we also feel it is important for anyone who is considering letting out properties as serviced apartments to bear in mind the following points: 

1) If you are renting out a domestic residential property on a short let basis in London, for more than 90 night night in one year, you are breaking the planning regulations (Example: most residential properties are classified C3 private dwelling house, it’s not a hotel). Outside of London the local council take a more relaxed view.

2) If you guests are making a nuisance of themselves it could be reported to the local council by a neighbour. 
Some London borough councils simply don’t have the resources to enforce the planning rules, but if you are singled out you will be fined.

3) London borough councils are quite good at spotting who is short letting and their planners can easily enforce the rules, most often this will be in a place where stress on affordable housing is most acute. 
See below the London boroughs which are actively discouraging short lets.

4) Be warned – If you apply to use a premises for the purpose of short lets and are subsequently refused, you are now on the their radar! Remember that planning officers are aware of , , and other rooms distribution websites – don’t be caught red-handed. 

5) In the short short term 1-3 night bookings from 'leisure' guests and holiday makers will offer you higher rates than those long stays from corporate guests, but you must consider the implications of wear and tear to your properties and be mindful that leisure bookings come with the increased risk of parties. Far better to focus on ways to build up corporate long stay business.

A dwelling house (ie a regular apartment) is use class C3 – this is an owner-occupied, or rented dwelling.

A hotel or serviced apartment where there is no significant element of care provided is use class C1 – with C1 you will have no minimum length of stay. 

A dwelling house that has been granted a temporary change to it's planing to allow for short term lets (normally this happens when the owner can demonstrate the market for property sales is depressed)   - C3 'sui generis' 

So, how best to operate?

With certain exceptions, it apparent that local authorities will rarely check up on short letting landlords – instead they may simply react to a complaint from a neighbour.

London Borough Hot Spots, expect to receive an enforcement letter from the following:

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
Tower Hamlets

In 2017 Short Let Consulting Ltd merged it's real estate operations with a leading property agency to create:
The Serviced Apartment Real Estate Practice
For planing advice contact us via our new website:

Saxbury is the UK’s leading real estate practice for the serviced apartment and apart-hotel industry. Our Directors have been working in this sector since it first emerged, giving Saxbury in-depth knowledge and practical experience to effectively connect clients to opportunities that make the most of their investment. Saxbury consults on developments in all parts of the UK and acts as a trusted advisor to asset managers, developers, investors and private landlords, as well as serviced apartment owners and operators.