‘We need better balance over second homes in East Devon’

“Some changes have been made. Higher rates of stamp duty on additional properties, closing tax loopholes and plans to let councils double council tax on vacant second homes. It’s a good start, but more action is needed.” Simon Jupp

(Amazing what a by-election can do to focus minds on local issues – Owl)

Simon Jupp www.sidmouthherald.co.uk

Short-term holiday lets are an important part of the economy of popular tourist destinations.

Many jobs in our communities depend upon visitors enjoying the variety and availability of accommodation options, who in turn spend money locally year after year.

Homeowners benefit from the flexibility offered by short-term lets, too. Listing a spare room or property takes only a matter of minutes.

It is an increasingly irresistible attraction. 

A recent survey of landlords by Capital Economics found 10% of UK landlords were ‘very likely’ or ‘fairly likely’ to offer short-term lets in the future in properties that are currently used for long-term tenancies.

But it is time to get a grip on what is going on. That survey data reveals up to 470,000 more properties could be unavailable for residents looking to rent.

My fellow Conservative Devon MPs and I met the PM earlier this week to discuss this growing problem. Homes to buy and for long-term rent are out of reach for many people who grew up in Devon, work locally, or need the support of family to look after a loved one.

Some changes have been made. Higher rates of stamp duty on additional properties, closing tax loopholes and plans to let councils double council tax on vacant second homes. It’s a good start, but more action is needed.

I welcome a new review into short-term tourist accommodation which will explore the impact and options for communities like ours.

Measures being considered include a registration kitemark scheme with spot checks for compliance with rules such as gas safety, and physical checks of premises to ensure regulations in areas including health and safety, noise, and anti-social behaviour are obeyed.

Short-term holiday lets bring visitors to the places we love. 

Landlords and second-home owners who see property as an investment opportunity also make it harder for local people to have a home of their own. 

We clearly need a better balance for communities in East Devon and the South West.