Holiday lets contribute to the economy, create jobs, increase tourism and are generally a good use of housing. Nonetheless, there are concerns that owners of some properties that are not genuine businesses reduce their tax liability unfairly by declaring that a property is available to let, while making no sincere effort to let it out.
As I am sure you are aware, the Government has announced that it will legislate to strengthen the self-catering accommodation criteria for business rates to rectify this issue. This follows a consultation on a proposal to make holiday lets only liable for business rates rather than council tax if the property is available as a commercial holiday let for short periods totalling at least 140 days.
This would also apply if during the year prior to the year being considered, the property was available for letting commercially as self-catering accommodation for short periods totalling at least 140 days. If during the year immediately prior to the year being considered, the property was actually commercially let as self-catering accommodation for short periods totalling at least 70 days it would also benefit from the proposed changes.
I want to reassure you that I will be following this matter closely, and I look forward to reading the Government's full response to the consultation (due to be published shortly) which I understand will include details of changes and implementation.
Finally, I am always keen to hear the concerns of my constituents and I take note of the points raised with me about the impact of mortgage interest relief. I am not aware of any plans at present to review mortgage interest relief for holiday lets although I am assured that the Government keeps all taxes under review. I will ensure my colleagues at the Treasury are aware of the strength of feeling on this issue.