Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, says: “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.”
Generation Rent claims that it costs around one quarter more to rent a home in regions popular with holidaymakers than it did two years ago, while the numbers of properties available to let are sharply down – by as much as 53 per cent in Wales.
In contrast, rents in London are down by 17 per cent compared with July 2019, with the number of listings up by 10 per cent in the same period.
The activists are also critical of homeowners who have moved from cities during the pandemic. The group’s statement says: “The popularity of rural and coastal Britain since the pandemic – among holidaymakers and people relocating from cities – is putting unbearable pressure on renters, who are now being priced out of their communities.
“This is exacerbated by an incentive for landlords to switch properties from the rental market to the tourist market. By letting out properties on a daily or weekly basis, instead of on tenancies, they can avoid paying tax on their mortgage interest payments.”
Generation Rent says it’s looked at property portal data to compare listings and rents in each region, on July 15 2019 and July 16 2021.
It does not say whether the properties listed were specific matches, to make the rent comparisons meaningful.
However, it claims that in Wales, listings have fallen by 53 per cent over that period and rents have increased by 26 per cent.
In South West England, listings have fallen by 49 per cent and rents are up 23 per cent.
In Scotland listings are down by 28 per cent and rents up by 24 per cent.
The campaigners also say that 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.
The group's latest statement concludes by saying “Generation Rent is calling on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to withdraw mortgage interest relief from landlords of furnished holiday lets, as part of creating a level playing field with the wider private rented sector, and encourage more landlords to make homes available to people who need somewhere to live.
“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.”
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