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Taxation of Long and Short-term Lets

Volume 742: debated on Tuesday 19 December 2023

9. Whether his Department is taking fiscal steps to reduce differences in the levels of taxation between long and short-term lets. (900741)

The Government provide a different income tax regime for short-term lets compared with long-term lets if they qualify as furnished holiday lets, for which there are stringent conditions. As with all aspects of the tax system, the Government keep the tax treatment of property landlords under review. Any decisions on future changes will be taken by the Chancellor in the context of wider public finances.

The changes to landlord tax relief, which fully came in during the pandemic, exclude holiday lets. That has contributed to a significant decline in residential landlords in tourist areas like North Devon. The lack of affordable rental properties has priced out workers, particularly in the hospitality sector, resulting in businesses reducing their opening hours and therefore their tax contribution to the Treasury. Can my hon. Friend provide any hope of levelling the tax playing field to encourage long-term landlords back to the market?

I thank my hon. Friend for her continued interest in this area on behalf of her constituents. The Government want to ensure a diverse and sustainable visitor accommodation offer while protecting local communities, including ensuring the availability of affordable housing to rent or to buy. That is why we are introducing a registration scheme for short-term lets in England, which will be a vital step towards achieving that aim. The Government keep the tax treatment of property landlords under review, but I would be happy to meet her to discuss these issues further.

Throughout Westmorland and Lonsdale we see people, particularly in social care, hospitality and tourism, ejected from their communities because of the collapse in the long-term rental market into a short-term rental market, principally through Airbnb. Will the Minister go further on fiscal controls to make sure that we keep homes available for local people to live in? Will he put pressure on ministerial colleagues to change planning law to make short-term lets a separate category of planning use, so that communities in the lakes and the dales can prevent the collapse of their communities into places only for those who can afford to visit?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his comments. We have talked about this topic in my previous roles over many years. He is aware that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published a consultation on the introduction of a planning use class for short-term lets. He will also be aware that, through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, the Government have introduced a new power to allow councils to apply a council tax premium on second homes. There is progress in this area, but we are always open to new ideas.