Last week the Government announced a new policy to deal with the problem of second homeowners classifying their property as a holiday let in order to qualify for Business Rates and the associated reliefs. Under the new rules, a holiday let must be marketed for at least 140 days per year and occupied as a holiday let for at least 70 days per year in order to not be considered a second home. It is an important step forward to dealing with a longstanding challenge that some villages in Cornwall have faced.
Of the many problems that people bring me each week, difficulty getting access to housing is one of the most persistent and always has been. Sometimes families that need access to a larger property find it difficult to move up if they are in social housing; local people can find it hard to buy their first property and get on the housing ladder; for those needing a bedsit or small flat, the quality of the accommodation and the overall living environment is often very poor. The Covid pandemic has meant that people have not been able to holiday abroad and there has been a huge demand for temporary accommodation. As such, a number of private landlords withdrew their property from the residential market and used sites like Airbnb to get a larger income for temporary lets. That has exacerbated an already difficult problem over the last twelve months or so.