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Does increased legislation really help?


There are many calls for greater legislation; whenever there is a complaint these days the answer is to increase the bulk of the Law. I believe that we should rip it up instead and let the market decide.

More rules for holiday letting on the horizon! 

Pressure groups such as Generation Rent and Shelter have seen a spectacular back-fire from their demands to add to a landlords' burden. We have seen changes in the Tax regime that punish the small landlord yet allow corporate landlords unfair advantage. This has resulted in spiralling rents. We see ever-increasing demands on the standards of properties, energy performance and increasing HMO standards, even the imposition of A-band council tax on the smallest of rooms. We have a younger generation that believes that they are entitled to superior housing at little cost to themselves, presumably on the basis that, as landlords have more, they should pay more. In earlier times, before ASTs, property owners would simply 'buy and hold' and lock up their properties without tenants. This is making a comeback with foreign investors in London and will be the end result of increased tenants' rights.

This is having a surprising shift in 2022, as large numbers of landlords move to the lightly-regulated serviced accommodation sector. I have had several enquiries this month from HMO owners keen to change their business model to serviced accommodation, in brief, if you have a C3/C4 small HMO it is allowable if you let the house as a whole but beware! You could lose your HMO status so get your planning verified first; you need to check your finance and insurance as well.

The Government are scrambling to keep up by making, of course, more legislation to hammer the property owners. Wales are discussing double or quadruple council tax for second homes, the Cornish (as ever) are biting the hand that feeds them with complaints about destroyed communities and their poor youngsters forced to leave the area to seek their fortunes, village schools closing and only being able to buy sourdough at £4.50 instead of Mothers' Pride (99p) in the local shop. Does this impact Portsmouth at all? After all, a Southsea holiday home is hardly the stuff of the Islington dinner-party set but plenty of people love to come here for a good, honest break with a bit of night-life and shopping and to soak up our Naval heritage. Latest figures are showing 608 active rentals on Airbnb, surprisingly, this is less than last year, what could be happening? I suspect that the intensity of work required to run a holiday let is not to the liking of most investors, the yield is dropping off compared to the last few years so, as ever, we must keep our businesses agile to stay ahead of the game. Those that plunged into holiday letting have been shaken by lockdown and none of us is getting any younger, living life to the full is not compatible with changing guest linen.

In my own business the adapted bungalow for disabled guests showed a shaky start and a few nervous tremors, however, thanks to some guerrilla marketing from Sylvia we have now secured a full calendar well into next year…we are pressing ahead with the second one, and now that we have some firm figures the 'watchers' are coming out of the woodwork to work with us to create more such projects, happy days!

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