The new trade group representing short lets operators is asking the government to make sure the short lets sector is specifically included in future public cash handouts related to Coronavirus.
The UK Short Term Accommodation Association’s letter to government is in response to last week’s announcement by the Chancellor that leisure and hospitality businesses in Tier 2 areas would be eligible for grants of up to £2,100 per month from their local authorities.
The association claims that earlier this year many of its members struggled to obtain local authority grants due to technicalities over whether or not they could be classified as ‘hospitality businesses’.
This resulted in many companies being unable to access financial support at a time when they were closed in the spring lockdown. Now it says it wants to make sure legitimately qualifying businesses do not miss out on this latest funding round.
Merilee Karr, STAA chair, says: “The current government guidance that was implemented by local authorities earlier in the year led to some of our members failing to get the grants which they had every right to receive. That’s why we are calling on the government now to make it absolutely clear that short-term rental businesses are included by local authorities in this latest round of grants.”
The STAA argues that any business which derives the majority of its revenue from managing short-term rentals should be considered a ‘hospitality business’ and, therefore, should be eligible for grants. This should apply regardless of whether a company is operating out of an office or a high street outlet. Previously, a lack of high street presence has disqualified many companies.
The STAA believes that making short-term rentals companies eligible for this relief recognises the substantial contribution the sector makes to the UK’s tourism economy.
The association claims these businesses make up around 10 per cent of the UK’s entire rental accommodation supply.
“The sector will help the UK economy recover more quickly post-COVID, by creating jobs, driving custom into the local communities in which they are located and providing opportunities for property owners to earn additional income when they aren’t using their homes” continues Karr.
“A great example of how entrepreneurial the short term rental sector is, is the launch later this week of our Trusted Stays initiative which will support government workers needing accommodation during the second wave of the virus and provide a commercial route to bookings where demand might otherwise be lower in restricted areas. With the right support, our sector will continue to thrive and contribute to the UK’s recovery.”