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Incentives for landlords to shun Airbnb short lets - council call

The leader of a council in one of the areas of the UK with the highest number of Airbnb-style short lets wants the government to introduce incentives for landlords to stick with traditional long term lets to tenants.

The leader of North Devon council, David Worden, says: "The answer for the current problems goes beyond the powers of local authorities and goes beyond simply building more homes. It needs a joined up approach from local and national government to resolve these issues and will need honesty and commitment from all those involved. 

“…We, along with other district councils in Devon, will be pushing our local MPs to continue to take up the issue with government and to press for steps to be taken to redress the balance. 


This includes measures such as tightening up on the criteria applied to properties to enable them to be valued for business rates, removing mortgage interest and Capital Gains tax relief from holiday rental properties and allowing councils to set higher council tax on second homes. 

“We will also be asking the government to consider incentive schemes to encourage landlords to let on the permanent rental market rather than the holiday market. This is an issue that will affect the character of North Devon if action is not taken now.”      

Devon, along with other tourist areas of the UK, has seen a sharp fall in the availability of properties for long term let as increasing numbers appear to have been switched to the short lets sector, at least during summer months.

Councillor Worden says: “House prices have risen significantly in North Devon, with some pockets seeing rises of 18 per cent in the past 12 months. 


“Many of the properties that have been sold in North Devon have been bought to be used as second homes or as short-term holiday lets and so are no longer available to local people. This is a very worrying trend and something that requires collective action from local and national government to tackle.

“The impacts are not just on the individuals but also on our economy and social structure, as businesses and public services are now finding it hard to attract new employees as a direct result of the shortage of permanent accommodation.

“…We have also purchased a number of properties for use as emergency temporary accommodation which means that there is less reliance on bed and breakfast accommodation. 

“…We are keen for residents to come forward when they are aware of derelict or empty properties that could be brought back into use and, in certain circumstances, offer loans to owners of those properties in an effort to encourage them to move them back into use.”

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    Perhaps part of the reason that LLs have removed properties from the long term market is the inability to evict a non-paying or otherwise rogue tenant. The market has been tipped so far in favour of the tenant recently that a few unscrupulous tenants have soured the whole market. For LLs to offer decent, secure homes to renters there has to be a fair mechanism to deal with the minority who do not play by the rules.


    The main one for me is the removal of interest relief. I don’t mind managing all the other aspects but if my reward at the end is zero I’m not interested.

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    It's a very sad situation for renters in Devon and Cornwall. I know of a family desperate to rent a home in East Devon but there is nothing available, absolutely nothing. Of course people will turn to holiday letting in these areas - there's a huge demand, it's treated as a business for tax purposes, there isn't the red tape but most importantly there is no danger of not being paid, no need for any eviction process for bad tenants, there is more likelihood that the place will be looked after and you get to check on it regularly. I'm currently owed over £2000 by one tenant and it will increase until the end of November when the notice period ends, or could be longer if he decides not to move out. I've had enough, I'm switching to holiday lets when I can.

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    From the article they appear to be focussing more on penalties than incentives. What a surprise. I have Air B&B’s and I’ve said it before, give me back my mortgage interest relief and I’ll turn than back to BTL’s … simples!!

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    They must be having a laugh after the battering they have given us this last 20 years, for me removal of S.21, Deposits, How 2 Rent, removal of wear & tear, S.24 , Licensing etc,
    S.21 is only getting removed because of Tenant abusing it, deliberately getting evicted for Council to house them, no wonder shops are closing The can’t afford the staff, Care homes can’t get staff, Sainsbury’s staff agent offering £34. per hour for lorry drivers & £40. per hour for Sunday.
    They have it to good on the Benefit System to bother about work if that wasn’t there would not be any shortage of workers. The last Blog taken down at 10.11am must be a record, 18 LL’s responded in this short time it shows how upset we all are and 117 likes !.


    No shortage of jobs out there, and no shortage of lazy people who don't want those jobs.


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