A sharp rise in properties being let out as holiday homes, has meant that renters around the UK are being priced out of their own local communities, our latest research has found. And renters in Scotland, Wales and the South West of England are the worst hit.
It costs around one quarter more to rent a home in regions popular with holidaymakers than it did two years ago, with the numbers of properties available to let sharply down – by as much as 53% in Wales.
The popularity of rural and coastal Britain since the pandemic – among holidaymakers and people relocating from cities – is putting unbearable pressure on renters.
Landlords even have tax incentives to turn a family friendly home into a holiday let. By letting out properties on a daily or weekly basis, instead of on tenancies, they can avoid paying tax on their mortgage interest payments.
We looked at data published by Zoopla on the number of listings and the average rents in each region, on 15 July 2019 and 16 July 2021. In Wales, listings have fallen by 53%, in the same time that rents increased by 26%. In South West England, listings have fallen by 49% and rents are up 23%. In Scotland listings are down by 28% and rents up by 24%.
While holidaymakers to a hotspot might have a choice of thousands of short term lets, in many areas, fewer than 100 homes are available for locals to live in. According to Zoopla, Cornwall has just 62 homes available to rent. This is even lower in Pembrokeshire, which has 24 homes to rent, and lower still in the Scottish Highlands, where a mere 15 properties are available to let.
Generation Rent is calling on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to withdraw mortgage interest relief from landlords of furnished holiday lets, to create a level playing field, and encourage more landlords to make homes available to people who need somewhere to live. Generation Rent supporter Alex has started a petition demanding this - please add your name.
Further measures are needed to regulate the holiday lets market, ensure owners of holiday lets and second homes pay enough council tax, and build enough homes to allow people to stay in the areas where they grew up.
The government must make landlords pay their fair share. Self-catering accommodation plays an essential role for the tourist industry, but it is too easy for landlords to evict locals from their homes to make way for more lucrative holidaymakers. As a result communities are being torn apart and businesses that serve tourists struggle to find staff.
The situation is unsustainable. The government must give councils powers to tax and regulate their local holiday lets market appropriately, but should also act directly to take tax perks away from holiday lets so we keep homes available for people who need one.
Sign our 38 Degrees petition to join our campaign to close the holiday let tax loophole here.