Garden outbuilding for airbnb/short-let regulation?

Garden outbuilding for airbnb/short-let regulation?

9:45 AM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago 12

Text Size

Hi, I am planning to build an outbuilding in my backyard for short-let/Airbnb. My property is a semi-detached bungalow in London.

The backyard is about 80sqm in total. The plan is to build a summerhouse/annexe with 30sqm floor area. It will be separated from the main house and can be independently accessible from the backyard fence gate.

I researched a bit online. It seems there are often these issues coming with extra sleeping accommodation in the garden.

1. extra council tax charges on the outbuilding
2.planning permission needed when it was considered as a permanent sleeping accommodation

In order to avoid the issues, I am planning not to install a kitchen in it. So it will just be the toilet, sink, bathtub, possibly sauna.
Also, for the bed, I will set up a Murphy bed instead of a standard one. So it can be put up when there was no guest and used only as my office/workshop.

Will this allow me to pass the need for planning permission, extra council charge?

Will I be able to legally advertise online for short let?

Many thanks


Share This Article


Neil Patterson

9:48 AM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

Hi Ty,

I have no expertise in this area, and I am sure you will do a great job, but my fear would be that the council may perceive this as in the 'Beds in Shed' category.


10:35 AM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

You would also have to meet fire, environmental health and safety regs and all those which apply to hotel accommodation, business insurance etc. You will also have to get your neighbours on board. Who is your market? Parking?

Alan Bromley

11:08 AM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

My own experience here with Wealden District Council and the installation of a garden room suggests that you may need planning permission if there is plumbing of any kind. Our room was to be used as an artist's studio and even that set them off when the company referred to it a garden studio so we had to tell them it was a garden room, which they happily accepted under permitted development. We got a certificate of lawful development before we started.

I have heard of people retro-fitting plumbing but all it takes is a nosy neighbour to report you and you are in trouble. There is also the matter of public liability and your own household insurance to consider. The latter would normally cover outbuildings (but not the contents, so check) but if you plan to use it as rental accommodation without the necessary planning approval that's a completely different thing. If a visitor made a claim for falling out of bed the public liability cover within your household insurance probably would not cover it unless you had obtained consent from your insurers.

Coming back to the council, I believe that you will definitely need planning permission for a habitable room - I think that applies nationwide - so be careful if you think you can bypass the rules!

Jerry stone

11:41 AM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

This was a resent question sent in to the planning magazine. Q&A below.
Development Management Answers: Are granny annexe rules fair?
5 November 2020 by John Harrison

Q A homeowner wants to erect a granny annexe in his garden.....

..... This needs permission because it contains primary living accommodation and is therefore not incidental to the enjoyment of the host dwelling. Another homeowner has a detached garage that he wishes to convert to a granny annexe. This would presumably not need permission. Does this not seem contradictory? JM

A Class E, part 1, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 2015 as amended relates to buildings required for a purpose incidental to a dwellinghouse as such. If a garage is being altered to create primary living accommodation, for example by replacing its door with a window, that would need planning permission because work is being carried out to a “non-incidental” building. Government technical guidance on permitted development rights for householders advises: “A purpose incidental to a house would not, however, cover normal residential uses, such as separate self-contained accommodation or the use of an outbuilding for primary living accommodation such as a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen.”

Providing a granny annexe within an existing curtilage building would not normally involve a material change of use, as Uttlesford District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment and White [1992] established. So if converting the garage requires no external alterations, then permission would not be needed.

Conversely, erecting a new building within a dwelling curtilage as a granny annexe would automatically require permission. These provisions do seem to be somewhat contradictory. I presume the “incidental” stipulation in class E is to prevent the erection of “primary” accommodation such as extra bedrooms. While new outbuildings could subsequently be converted to “primary” accommodation, this could only happen after they had been used for incidental purposes for a reasonable period of time.

John Harrison

Jerry stone

11:43 AM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

In addition to additional Council Tax you are also likely to be liable for C.I.L. Community Infrastructure Levey. London is subject to a 90 day restriction on sort term lets as well.

Hope all this helps. Jerry


22:07 PM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jerry Stone at 12/11/2020 - 11:43
Hi, thank you.
The garden house is 30sqm and I am residing in the main house so it would be exempted from the levy.


22:12 PM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Alan Bromley at 12/11/2020 - 11:08
Hi, thank you.
So if I apply for a lawful certificate as a workshop/gym with toilet and shower, but use it occasionally to host guest practically, will it be fine?

I think the line is really blurry.
This is the permitted development rights about outbuilding regarding sleeping accommodation.

6. To be permitted development, any new building must not itself be separate, self-contained, living accommodation and must not have a microwave antenna.


22:14 PM, 12th November 2020, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 12/11/2020 - 10:35
Thank you for the comment.
I only have one neighbour adjacent and there is parking.

I do not want long term tenant just hosting guest within the London 90 days limit.

Alexis Pineda

10:45 AM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 12/11/2020 - 09:48
Have you got any update? I'm just curious

1 2

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now