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Activists want sweeping new taxes on some lettings properties

Activists are calling on the government to impose swingeing taxes on some lettings properties “to bring them back into the residential market.”

This includes scrapping mortgage tax relief for holiday lets, and powers for councils to license holiday lets and charge additional council tax on homes that are not primary residences.

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of Generation Rent, says: “The popularity of domestic holidays last year, combined with the lack of regulation and tax advantages has fuelled the appetite for holiday homes and deprived renters of places to live. 


“We’ve heard countless stories of people being evicted so their landlord could start renting to tourists.

“Taking homes out of the residential market prices out people who want to settle down in the place they grew up. That destroys communities and starves local businesses of workers. 

“The government must step in to incentivise landlords to let to tenants instead of tourists. This involves removing tax advantages from holiday lets, and giving councils powers to license holiday lets and impose substantial council tax premiums on holiday homes.”

Craw claims that Wales and South West England saw both the largest increase in holiday home ownership and the largest rise in rents over the course of the pandemic.

Thousands of properties in Wales and South West England were bought as holiday homes or switched from the private rented sector between March 2020 and August 2021. 

Generation Rent claims: “In the same period rental listings halved, sending rents surging by 17 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.”

Holiday homes can either be registered as second homes for council tax, or commercial holiday lets for business rates. 

Generation Rent says the combined total of these properties in South West England rose from 73,344 to 76,331 between 2020 and 2021, a four per cent increase. 

In Wales, the number of second homes and commercial holiday lets increased from 31,779 to 33,474 in the same period.

According to Zoopla data cited by Generation Rent, the number of rental listings in South West England fell from 12,578 in February 2020 to 6,316 in July 2021, while the average weekly rent rose from £206 to £238. 

In Wales, listings on Zoopla fell from 7,237 to 3,143 in the same period, with the average rent rising from £155 to £181.

There are 301,221 second homes, with 66 per cent estimated to be used as holiday homes, and 94,928 commercial holiday lets in Great Britain as a whole, and they are concentrated in London, Scotland, Wales and South West England.

At present, landlords can claim tax relief on mortgage interest paid on holiday lets but not residential tenancies. 

In January the government announced new requirements for holiday let operators to register for business rates and thereby qualify for small business rate relief instead of paying council tax on a second home.

  • icon

    Generation Rent again. All they do is moan. Perhaps if they put as much effort into working hard they could actually have a decent home instead of trying to control everyone else’s homes.

  • John Ahmed

    I'm sick of hearing about activists, this generation rent want to get off their backsides and work hard instead of trying to just "take" from everyone. A bit of hard work might then enable them to buy a house to live in!!
    Landlords are tired of this tirade of rubbish from these people.

  • John Ahmed

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    • G W
    • 01 June 2022 08:25 AM

    I can understand his point as properties have been swapped for holiday let’s…… however, all these activists are doing is alienating Landlords like myself to consider leaving the market.

    If Labour get in, then expect more of this!!…. They should be incentivising landlords and make it more attractive to invest, because the government and councils certainly aren’t

  • Simon Shinerock

    It’s quite hilarious really, first they campaign to penalise private landlords, then they moan when they re-purpose their properties and shun the sector. It’s a bit like asking someone out on a date and giving them a list of everywhere you won’t be taking them


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