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Activists accuse landlords of tearing apart communities via short lets

The Generation Rent group has renewed its attack on landlords who let properties to holidaymakers rather than long term tenants. 

The group has published research based on what it suggests is the widespread practice of landlords switching from mainstream long term letting to short lets aimed at tourists - although the group does not indicate how many landlords may have actually done this.

It claims that rents in key tourist areas - Wales, Scotland and South West England - have soared since the pandemic as landlords have switched.

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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.” 

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    I dispute the statement 'It is too easy for LLs to evict locals from their homes..' - it has not been easy during the pandemic to evict anyone!

    Could this inability to evict bad tenants be behind the move to holiday lets? Most holiday makers don't overstay their time, fail to pay their rent or trash the place. Once again Generation Rent is playing the one sided blame game.

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    Totally agree.

    Whilst short term renters are blighting many Edinburgh residential areas, many of these properties used to be long term lets before the SNP changed the law in 2017, banning landlords and tenants from agreeing fix term leases, banning landlords from getting back their own properties other than for specific restricted reasons.

    The proposed rent controls will only make matters worse.

    The SNP turkeys keep voting for Christmas!

     
  • George Dawes

    If that’s introduced in England I will definitely sell up , god knows what to do with the money as in a few years of hyper inflation it’ll be worthless

    The whole thing is now all about destroying the prs , the economy, everything

    Depressing

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    Tricia - absolutely agree with your comments. We have had our hands tied behind our backs whilst tenants are given more and more power to reign in our properties.

    We are selling some houses now and changing some HMOs to family lets, with the intention of reducing further over the next few years.

    25 years of hard slog and many missed holidays/family events to provide decent homes and make an honest, reasonable living to get to this! Feel like we are having all our rights stripped away and they wonder why there is an increase in holiday let’s!! So fed up of the private sector landlord bashing too.

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    The lazy parasites and vermin attacking the private sector once again.

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    Thanks for the Data Generation Rent. Sounds like we should all be buying in those areas double quick!! What with booming economies due to more tourists and fewer homes to rent I could actually finally make a few quid back on BTL there!! I best call my mortgage Broker!!

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    On a more serious note… give me back my mortgage interest relief and I’ll happily convert my Air B&B”s back to BTL. In ain’t rocket science. Take it away from my Air B&B’s and I’ll convert them all to Ltd Company. Whilst expensive there will at least be no capital gains to pay as I can prove it’s a legitimate business transfer to incorpoaration.

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