A Labour councillor in the Lake District says second home owners who let their properties should be obliged to pay five times the regular council tax.
The Keswick Reminder news website quotes Councillor Tony Lywood as saying: “I would now like to see a cap on the proliferation of holiday lets in the town and the immediate change in the ratings system.
“People who have holiday lets only want to do the best for themselves and want to buy properties where the money is, but the most annoying thing of all to me is that the system effectively allows us to subsidise holiday lets as they pay no council tax.”
He says holiday lets often claim small business rates relief, which he claims was designed to encourage start-up businesses and shopkeepers.
“What is needed is to dis-incentivise turning a house into a holiday let so that it is not massively lucrative. Until we do that, I don’t blame any holiday let owner or second home owner.”
Lywood says the issue has been heightened as a result of his receiving a “heart wrenching” account of a young Keswick couple who cannot afford to move within the area, but must remain living locally because of transport and childcare arrangements.
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Recently the former Liberal Democrat party leader and Lake District MP Tim Farron met with Airbnb to challenge the company on the damaging effect of short lets on the rental market. He says there has been a 32 per cent increase in the number of holiday lets in his South Lakeland constituency over the past year.
Farron says local people and families have been evicted from their homes in the Lake District so that their landlord can turn it into a holiday let.
Farron urged Airbnb to publicly declare that it will not accept onto its books any properties where the landlord had made it available by getting rid of the local people or family who lived there under a Section 21 eviction.
He told Airbnb that this sharp rise in holiday lets is actually hurting the tourist economy, with the shortage of homes exacerbating the current staffing crisis.
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