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Petition to increase lettings tax nears 45,000-signature target

A petition calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to increase tax on holiday lettings has neared its 45,000-signature target over the weekend.

Former long term tenant Alex McIntyre posted his petition on the 38 Degrees petition website - it appears to have been created in tandem with the Generation Rent group of activists.

McIntyre, from Plymouth in Devon, says his city has turned into “a city of holiday lets” and he quotes the Cornwall Council figure that Rightmove recently posted only 62 available homes to let in that county, while Airbnb advertised 10,290 Cornish properties available to tourists.


“By removing mortgage interest relief from holiday lets, more property owners will make their homes available to people who need somewhere to live. This will reduce rents, stop people being priced out, and make sure communities in tourist hotspots benefit” he writes.

You can see the 38 Degrees petition here - its wording is reproduced below. 


I feel privileged to live in Plymouth. It's by the sea, has amazing beauty spots, Dartmoor is close by and the nightlife, pre-covid, was phenomenal. It is one of the UK's top tourist destinations. Unfortunately Plymouth's advantages can also be a disadvantage for its residents.

I lived in my last flat for 5 years. The rent was affordable and it was close to the city centre – but was not in a great state of repair. When I complained to my landlord about the broken boiler and asked him to make repairs to his property, he threatened to evict me.

One day a Section 21 notice arrived for me and the other tenants in the building, meaning we had to move out. The landlord said he was selling up because he did not want to be a landlord anymore.

But a few months later, I discovered he had turned the building into an AirBnB. I found pictures online of my old flat which he had renovated and done up to perfection.

My neighbours and I are not the only ones this has happened to. Plymouth has become a city of holiday lets. Cornwall has 62 homes to rent on Rightmove but 10,290 AirBnB listings. In one village in Wales, three quarters of the houses are holiday homes.

Fewer homes available for residents mean higher rents, and people being priced out of their local areas in search of a home. That erodes local communities and starves local businesses of workers. The only people who benefit are the landlords.

One cause of this is mortgage tax relief, which holiday-let landlords are entitled to but private rental landlords are not. It is saving holiday-let landlords potentially thousands of pounds every year, and actively dissuading them from renting their houses out to locals. After all, why rent to actual residents when the government has made it cheaper to let out holiday accommodation?

We need a level playing field so that the local areas enjoy the right balance between holiday lets and homes people want to live in. By removing mortgage interest relief from holiday lets, more property owners will make their homes available to people who need somewhere to live. This will reduce rents, stop people being priced out, and make sure communities in tourist hotspots benefit.

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    Good on the LL at least he got rid of you, after all we been through driving us to the wall now you are complaining there’s not enough of us doing regular letting.

  • Philip Drake

    The recent change to tax relief was to remove the tax relief on residential lettings (section 24). Relatively speaking there has been no recent change to holiday letting tax relief.

    The resolution, to this government initiated issue, would be to revert back, at least in part, the section 24 change. All pigs ready to fly.

    This will help to reverse the migration from residential to holiday letting.

    Reducing holiday letting tax relief will see landlords moving their investments to a kinder vehicle, thus reducing the number of properties available to holiday let and increasing the holiday letting fees. The exited holiday let properties could be bought by foreign investors or by local residents, but the valuations will probably be higher than many of the local residential property due to the higher specification required, but may be needed to reconfigured to match normal residential occupation. It’s not easy to predict whether or not or how house prices in the area will change.

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    Much of the reason that LL‘s may be creating holiday lets is because the margins have been reduced completely in the residential letting scenario and with all the legislation it simply isn’t viable for many landlords to go down this route and have any margin anymore.

    Added to that the difficulty of getting tenants out when a landlord needs to, means that many will decide to do short-term lets where they have control of their own properties.

    I have just rented last week to a couple, in a licensed HMO with five bedrooms (and six people in total) and although I did financial and landlord checks they are noisy at night and, disgustingly, have brought bedbugs with them which cost £300 per room with pest control and are likely to spread through the house. With the current rules on section 21 I will not be able to issue the notice until they’ve been there 4 months and I will still have to give them 4 months notice so that’s 8 months for me to be able to get them out. And that’s if they go without me having to go to court to get them to leave.

    Maybe we should all change to holiday lets so at least we know those staying are definitely leaving!!


    The joy of renting to the great unwashed, it seems a room in an HMO is all they can afford which is why I've never gone down the HMO route, that said over the years I've still had my share of the great unwashed.

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    Why is it always about bad landlords what about the bad tenants? I’ve just had a tenant leave my flat with rent areas and about £3000 of damage done to the flat. New carpets, redecorating throughout will cost we quite a bit! So no wonder landlords are getting out!

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    Devon and Cornwall are tourist areas so it makes perfect sense for landlords in those areas to rent to tourists, it's not just tax or higher rent it's also an end to rogue tenants who live in properties without paying rent, the people who live in Devon and Cornwall are generally lowly paid so cannot afford much it's up to councils and housing assoc s to home them, since when was a private landlord a charity ?

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    • 09 August 2021 08:57 AM

    Complaining about low supply of properties? Better get used to it you filthy parasites, keep putting pressure on landlords and there won't be many around. That's what you get for squeezing the hardworking landlords.

  • icon

    Bang on the nail! We landlords are expected to be taxed unfairly and differently to other businesses and then expected to just let tenants live in our properties rent free whilst we jump through hoops to remove them. 2 of my portfolio are now holiday lets. Best move I've made in a long time.

  • David Lester

    When will these people that owning property for rent is a business, not a charity and if it doesn't make profit LL will reinvest into an alternative investment. Instead of protesting against LL's they should direct their anger/frustration to the Government for its tax and regulations also the local Councils who through their incompetence have not built council houses. Alternatively they could buy their own property and live in it, if they cannot afford Cornwall move to somewhere they can, as many of us had too!

  • icon

    Don’t blame the landlords for the lack of housing! Shout loud and blame governments and housing associations that have let you down badly.. 
Landlords, work hard, save hard and risk their own cash to invest in property. Try it folks… it’s hard work, really hard work with sacrifices, which deserve rewards. 
I’m sorry but the landlords are an easy target for people and organisations that have taken their eye off the ball, not invested heavily in housing and are now looking for the easy way out and someone else to blame.

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    It will be difficult to find any shade of govt. (NO political party) that is fair minded in how they treat LLs.
    It is a flipping hard life on upto £90K p.a. for MPs plus all their fringe rackets, and far too many govt clerks in depts and Councils, who get a paid an awful lot more than they deserve. See what that Blue former Chancellor (expensively educated in some private school) who introduced higher SD for BTL property, under the excuse of making it easier for 1st time buyers. These guys have not got the faintest of ideas on dealing with most problems, but are only ensuring they get into cushy paid job despite their gross incompetence!

  • girish mehta

    My tenants do not know cleaning exists in their world. Even my dogs keep their place clean than the tenants . The politics of envy
    Want the government to support them from cradle to grave, the needy generation that want every thing on plate. Just because the are bound and expect government to dance to their .Politician can play their game. In the end landloards have a choice and market will evolve to address the issues. My get short term gain . Long term tenants will end up paying higher rent and decreasing housing stock.

  • icon

    The trouble with bad legislation is it needs more bad legislation to correct its implications. I have converted 6 of my rentals so far to short lets and I’m doing well out of them. But I’m only doing them because of the ridiculous removal of tax relief. If they backtracked on that I would gladly put them back in to the rental market like a shot as whilst they would still make more money as short Lettings than my BTL’s used to before the removal of tax relief they are a lot more work. And if they remove the tax relief on holiday lets too I will just adjust my model again. For some reason the government seems to think us Landlords are all stupid but in reality we are a very innovative and entrepreneurial group of investors and we will just reinvent again! Make me redundant by all means by building more homes!! It really is that simple.

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    Unfortunately due to the lack of social housing available the powers that be rely on the PRS to house would be tenants. What they seem to forget is that LLs have a choice and can rent to whoever they like. Short stay tenants pay more and generally do less damage than long term tenants so why would LLs not go this route if it works for them.

    It is about time LLs were supported in doing the valuable job they do instead of being constantly bashed and trashed!

  • icon

    Dear Government

    Please continue to load all landlords with further unjustified costs, reduce their tax relief and screw them when they give up and sell my flat, thus making me homeless.

    I'm sure the inevitable shortage of rental properties won't mean I have to pay more rent.

    A Shelter-supporting member of Generation Rant.


    Viewings yesterday, 6 people applied, choose the tenants I prefer today, if they check out okay they will be moving in next week, small terraced house in Norwich was let for £600 per month now £750 per month, 5 disappointed applicants, it's only going to get worse, much worse, for tenants, all caused by Shelter and Generation Rant

  • Theodor Cable

    As long as rents go up, caused by market forces, why should we worry?

    All businesses are profit drive. So if the market drives prisesto rise due to lack of supply, then so be it.

    There will always be someone to pay.


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