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Politicians insist “we’re not at war with holiday lets”

South Hams council in south Devon - one of the UK’s top holiday spots - has unanimously agreed proposals for second homeowners  to pay a 100 per cent council tax premium. 

South Hams council declared a ‘housing crisis’ in September 2021 and lobbied the government to allow local higher council tax one holiday homes, including those let by their owners. 

A statement from the Devon authority says: “The lobbying proved successful when in May 2022, the government published the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill, which included proposals, aimed at addressing the negative impact of second homes on the supply of homes available to meet local housing need. The Bill proposes that councils will be allowed to introduce a Council Tax premium of up to 100% in respect of second homes, meaning second homes would pay double the amount of Council Tax for an area. 


The Bill is likely to become law from 1 April 2024 at the earliest.”

South Hams council has got in ahead of the legislation, with a unanimous vote to introduce the 100 per cent premium as soon as possible - likely to be spring 2024.

Judy Pearce, council leader, says: "The long-term viability of communities within the South Hams has been detrimentally affected by the level of second homes ownership. The sheer quantity of second homes means that house prices are pushed upwards. This can deny a home to a local resident as prices are pushed outside of what they can reasonably afford. This is especially acute for the younger generation.

"I went to Westminster in November to speak to a House of Lords Select Committee to discuss the challenges around short-term lets and the impact that has in the South Hams. It's truly concerning that with just under 4,000 second homes in the District, this means that nearly one in every 12 homes is a second home.

"We're not declaring war on second homes; we're simply levelling the field to make it easier for our local residents to find somewhere to live, let alone somewhere to buy. We know that the majority of people can't afford the prices of houses around the area at the moment. We do stand in solidarity with our local residents because they all have a right to have somewhere decent to live."


Letting Agent Today returns on Wednesday December 28, and wishes all readers and their families a fabulous Christmas and a well-deserved break!

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    While I understand the emotional response to second home ownership I don’t see how charging double council tax will ‘level up’ . Will any second home or holiday home owners be selling any time soon to local first time buyers? Or to anyone as an actual home? Or will they absorb the cost and increase their charges to their customers?

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    It is not a crime to own a second home so owners should not have to pay punitive taxation.

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    This tax will do nothing to free up second homes to 1st time local buyers. As Michael says the cost will be absorbed by 2nd home owners or passed on for holiday lets.

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    • S S
    • 28 December 2022 13:49 PM

    the only solution is to provide more housing is to build houses (affordable and keep the ownership of some within the local housing association to be available to rent for local workers more - those that are sold go locals to buy them (with discounts maintained within the land deeds) - charging second home owners more (as holiday lets also bring cash to the local economy) huge taxation is not going to change the homes available to local people.
    What happens if a "local" buys a home, then has to move for work - if they can't sell they are then penalised for changing jobs!!


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