Rents surge as Devon landlords switch to holiday lets

Devon landlords

11% of landlords in North Devon own furnished holiday lets compared to 6250 individuals earning other forms of property income, HMRC data shows

Rents in South West England have surged since the pandemic as more and more landlords switch to the holiday lets market, Generation Rent research shows.

Generation Rent looked at data published by Zoopla on the number of listings and the average rents in each region, on 15 July 2019 and 16 July 2021.

In South West England, listings for properties in South West England have dropped by 49% since 2019, with rents also up 23%.

In North Devon, housing crises have been announced in Bideford, Ilfracombe and Braunton, with many residents facing homelessness due to high rent and the lack of listings available.

The campaign group for renters has also looked at collected government figures on the proportion of landlords who own holiday lets, and compared how many holiday lets were being advertised online with the number of homes being advertised to let for tenants.

According to HMRC data, 11% of landlords (790) in North Devon own furnished holiday lets compared to 6250 individuals earning other forms of property income.

On August 4 2021, there were 2591 holiday let listings for properties in North Devon, compared to 21 properties listed to rent on Zoopla and 30 on Rightmove. In South Hams, 10% of landlords have holiday lets; the analytics website AirDNA counts 2521 holiday lets, but there are just 31 homes to let on Zoopla.

In Cornwall, where 15% of its 38900 landlords own holiday lets, there were only 76 listings for rental properties on Zoopla compared to 10290 holiday let listings. That is 135 holidays lets per property to rent.

Landlords are incentivised to switch properties from the rental market to the tourism market. By letting out properties on a daily or weekly basis, instead of on tenancies can avoid paying tax on their mortgage interest payments.

Generation Rent is calling on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to withdraw mortgage interest relief from landlords of furnished holiday lets, as part of creating a level playing field with the wider private rented sector, and encourage more landlords to make homes available to people who need somewhere to live.

Alicia Kennedy, Director of Generation Rent, said: Self-catering accommodation plays an essential role for the tourist industry, but it is too easy for landlords to evict locals from their homes to make way for more lucrative holidaymakers.

She said: As a result communities are being torn apart and businesses that serve tourists struggle to find staff. The situation is unsustainable. The government must give councils powers to tax and regulate their local holiday lets market appropriately, but should also act directly to take tax perks away from holiday lets so we keep homes available for people who need one.

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