Fears new holiday homes rule will ruin parts of Devon (2024)

The Government has announced that new controls on holiday lets in England will be introduced from the summer. The aim is to prevent local people from being unable to afford to live in their own community.

The changes mean that people may need to ask the council for permission to turn their home into a short-term let. A mandatory national registration scheme will also be set up.

The rules will not apply to people who rent out their main home for less than 90 nights a year. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs will not be affected by the changes.

The government said the changes would make it easier to find somewhere affordable to buy or rent in places where there are a lot of short-term lets. This would prevent communities from becoming "hollowed out".

However, while many people have welcomed the plans, not everyone has done so. One person, writing into our sister print title the North Devon Journal, says that if holiday lets go on up for sale, second home owners from outside the area will buy them at bargain prices and the proposals could see much more prolonged ghost towns.

Read the full letter below

I really feel someone needs to clarify and factually correct some points being stated around this new Spring Budget, currently the information is widely inaccurate and biased to the Government agenda.

My concern is the people in this area are going to go from worrying about houses to live in, to ... there’s no local work for them, which is where we were in the 70s, 80s 90s and onwards when tourism was desperately wished for to save North Devon. The Spring Budget measures are specifically on holiday lets, not all second homes and any second homes that might go on the market for sale will be snapped as second homes (not holiday lets), and certainly won’t be the affordable ones we need for first time buyers.

To explain...there is a big difference between the use of a second home vs a holiday let.

Holidays Lets typically are let for 25-40 weeks of the year, each week new guests arrive, with a holiday goal to explore the local area, and will spend a lot more money during their holiday time in the local area than a typical resident would over the same time period, therefore, retail and hospitality and food services will benefit greatly, as will all the secondary trades and businesses that support them.

Walk into any restaurant and ask them how’s it going and they are desperate for business, and this will chop off a significant revenue stream for them.

Second homes are owned and remain for the sole private use of the owner, typically the owner will only reside and visit the area for a few weeks of the year. The remaining time the property remains empty. They contribute a lot less money spent in the area.

The Spring Budget measures will only have a cost impact on holiday lets, which currently are able to offset their mortgage interest against the income from holiday letting.

Second homeowners do not have an income from the property and therefore will be unaffected by the spring budget tax relief removal.

If holiday lets go on up for sale, second home owners from outside the area will buy them at bargain prices.

The removal of tax relief on mortgage interest will make it for sure less viable\desirable for holiday letting. Holiday let properties are typically the most desirable in the local area, ask any local estate agent to confirm they will command a premium and will therefore be purchased by second home owners, who can afford to pay higher prices.

Shortage of housing is primarily due to residents relocating/migrating from around the country to North Devon.

The rise in a shortage of properties is due to an increase in demand as Covid accelerated ways for the UK to work from home, combined with much higher house values around the country. North Devon has always been a popular destination for UK residents to relocate to as the area is 1) desirable and 2) much more affordable.

Reducing the holiday lets will only increase the above.

There are very few hotels in North Devon especially on the coast, campsites and holiday parks operate on much more limited seasonal times through the year, compared to holiday lets and therefore if we solely rely on these tourism types, we are going to see much more prolonged ghost towns.

For the record, I’ve lived here in North Devon all my life, as have my parents and many generations before them, and yes I have grafted hard and continue to work hard to own and run a holiday let. Opinions greatly differ to the ones being shared by our Government.

Lastly, did you know there are 12,000 Airbnbs in the borough of Westminster that will also be affected by the new spring budget?

There must be a great number of London hotels glad to see those diminished.

James Reed

via email

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Fears new holiday homes rule will ruin parts of Devon (2024)


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