Four times as many Swindon homes are now vacation rentals for tourists

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a vacation boom, with vacation home prices skyrocketing in tourist hotspots, and many are looking to capitalize on it by converting their second homes into vacation rentals.

New figures from the Government’s Office of Valuation Agency, provided by property experts Altus Group, show there were 25 holiday rentals in Swindon as businesses at the end of May.

Before Covid hit the UK in March 2020, there were only six registered holiday rentals in the borough.

The figures cover second homes that are registered as business premises – meaning they must be available for at least 140 days a year – but do not include other second homes used for private holiday rentals.

Groups pointed to the increased pressure of rising tourism on some communities – particularly those in rural and coastal areas – such as rising rents and stretched local services.

In England and Wales, nearly 20,000 new homes have been newly registered as holiday rentals during the pandemic – there are now 83,342 nationwide.

Altus Group says the national increase may be due to people “flipping” their second homes – converting them into vacation rentals to avoid paying council tax.

Owners of holiday rentals in England can claim 100% relief from business rates if the property has a rateable value of up to £12,000, and will also not have to pay council tax. They do not need to prove that the property was actually rented to claim the tax relief.

In January, the government announced it was cracking down on the holiday rental tax loophole, telling secondary owners they will need to prove their properties are rented out for at least 70 days a year in order to access the relief. professional prices.

Housing charity Generation Rent said there were “countless” stories of tenants being evicted to make way for a vacation rental.

The charity’s deputy director, Dan Wilson Craw, said: ‘The popularity of national holidays last year, combined with the lack of regulation and tax benefits, has fueled the appetite for holiday homes. vacation and private housing tenants.

“Taking houses off the residential market price for people who want to settle where they grew up.

“It destroys communities and starves local businesses of workers.”

Department of Levelling, Housing and Communities records from September 2021 show that there were 196 properties registered as second homes for council tax purposes in Swindon.