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Covid-19: Advice for Holiday Home Owners

21st May 2020

Financial support for holiday property owners during COVID-19

During an unprecedented time, when travel is restricted and the luxury of a weekend break or week away is effectively void, owners of holiday properties are being hit hard.

As social restriction measures continue, those who rely on an income through holiday properties are questioning how long this may continue and what support is available during this time.

Here, we explore the support measures out there and offer advice for those affected by guest cancellations and loss of bookings.

The impact

Since Monday 23rd March 2020, the UK has been in lockdown. Although the easing of some restrictions, announced on 10th May, is helping some normality to resume, holiday accommodation still largely remains closed for public bookings.

This has obviously resulted in a substantial loss of income for many. For some, perhaps their only source of income, resulting in great stress and financial hardship. Above all, there is no timeline for how long this may last.

Although holiday hotspots are starting to become busier as lockdown eases and people can travel further to enjoy the outdoors, restrictions around residing elsewhere for a holiday remain in place.

But, as we’ve seen for many businesses, holiday let owners may be eligible to receive financial assistance from the government. Although schemes vary and what you’re entitled to claim will depend on your individual situation, we’ve summarised a few support schemes, which may be relevant to you as a holiday property owner.

Support schemes for businesses

Tax deferral scheme

To support cash flow at a time when it’s needed most, temporary delays have been offered for tax and VAT payments.

  • Income tax deferral: You can delay your second payment (usually due at the end of July) to the end of January 2021.
  • Deferral of VAT payments: If you’re registered for VAT, you have the option to defer payment to 31st March 2021.

Business rates relief for holiday property owners

For those that currently pay business rates on their holiday let, a business rate relief scheme offers a 12-month payment holiday for 2020/2021. If you’re eligible, your local council will apply the discount automatically and you shouldn’t have to take any action

Business support grant funds for holiday property owners

As well as business rates relief, the government is also providing support to some businesses in the form of two grant funding schemes: Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

  • Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF): all businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for £10,000.
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG): all businesses in England with a rateable value up to £15,000 will be eligible for grants of £10,000. Those with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will be eligible for grants of £25,000.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

This scheme is available for self-employed individuals (who reports profits through an income tax self-assessment) a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits, up to £2,500 per month. This service is now available online. Find out how to claim at GOV.UK.

Bounce Back Loans

On 27th April, the government announced additional financial help for small and medium businesses through 100% government-backed loans. Businesses affected by coronavirus can now apply for loans of up to £50,000.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

This scheme supports small and medium sized businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans and other kids of finance of up to £5 million for up to six years. Find out more about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Furnished holiday let occupancy levels

Your holiday let may not meet the specific occupancy levels required to qualify as a Furnished Holiday Let (FHL). If so, you may be able to make a ‘period of grace election’. This means that as long as you qualified the previous year and can provide evidence that you intended to meet the letting condition, but were unable to do so, the property can still quality as a FHL.

For more information on Furnished Holiday Lettings guide, see the GOV.UK or talk to your accountant.

The Outlook

The last few weeks and months have been exceptionally challenging for many people. After the initial blow of lockdown, and countless plans abruptly postponed or cancelled, the country now starts to ease out of lockdown. Baby steps will (and should) be taken around travel, both here in the UK and abroad.

For individuals who run holiday properties as a sole or valuable source of income, it’s an uncertain time. When will travel bans lift? What will the Great British summer look like in 2020, even 2021? It’s a continuously moving field, so keep up to date with government advice and look for guidance around what schemes may support you over the next few months.

Much of the current news around holiday lets is that Staycations will be on the rise for 2020-21. Many holidaymakers will be nervous about travelling further afield until some kind of resolution is found to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As a company, we are taking this time to position the properties we have across multiple new online travel agents (OTAs). We are also adopting new intuitive pricing structures that move with the market on a dynamic basis.

A bit about us…

Fresh Air Rental Management has over 2,000 reviews and Superhost status on Airbnb. In the last few years we have learnt valuable lessons on how best to advertise and stage a property and manage guests. If you are considering short term lets for your property give us a call.

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