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The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has proposed that revising the tax system for buy-to-let landlords could significantly alleviate the pressures caused by the proliferation of short-term rentals, such as those listed on Airbnb. This suggestion comes from NRLA’s chief executive, Ben Beadle, in response to recent government measures aimed at regulating the short-term let market.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove recently announced that local councils will soon have enhanced authority to manage short-term lets more effectively. This includes requiring planning consent for new short-term rentals and introducing a mandatory national register to monitor these lets closely. The government’s initiative aims to provide local authorities with a clearer picture of short-term rental activity in their regions, assessing its impact on communities and ensuring compliance with health and safety standards.

Under the new framework, homeowners can rent out their primary residences for up to 90 days a year without needing planning consent, a measure designed to safeguard the interests of existing homeowners engaging in short-term letting.

However, Beadle argues that a fundamental approach to bolstering the long-term rental market and curbing the appeal of short-term lets lies in revising the tax treatment of buy-to-let investments. Specifically, he points to the mortgage interest relief changes introduced in 2015, which have inadvertently made short-term holiday lets more financially attractive than long-term rentals. According to Beadle, reversing these tax changes could increase the supply of properties available for long-term rental, thereby easing demand and potentially stabilizing rental prices.

The NRLA has been vocal in advocating for a level playing field between holiday lets and private rentals, citing the current tax advantages enjoyed by short-term holiday lets as a contributing factor to the private rental sector’s supply crisis. Beadle’s comments highlight the association’s stance that tax reform is crucial in addressing the imbalance between the rental markets, suggesting that such measures would not only benefit landlords but also provide more stability and options for families looking to rent in the private sector.


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