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Holiday Homes in the News

Holiday homes are very much in the news at the moment. It is the time when owners of self catering properties much achieve their booking quotas and especially in 2009 when many prospective holiday renters are searching for bargains.

The Independent” ran a feature on the 22nd April entitled “If you want your holiday rental to stand out from the crowd, a quirky interior with a local touch is essential”.

The article went on to describe how twenty years ago life was so simple for the holiday home owner. You bought your holiday rental and furnished it with leftover from your own home or local cheap and cheerful furniture from the locality. Then you put an ad in the Sunday newspaper and the enquiries and bookings flood in.

In 2009 it is a different story. Prospective renters want to see photos and details on the Internet so that they can compare holiday rentals. A property owner in Portugal was quoted as saying you need individual furniture, pictures on the walls and leather sofas that are easier to clean rather than cream linen covers that show every stain.

In the April 2009 edition of the ARLA (Association of residential Letting Agents) “Agreement magazine there is a three page feature. The article says that a growing number of letting agents are going into holiday lets. These would be in the UK and don’t have to be by the sea. Cities like Bath, Edinburgh, Oxford and London have a fifty two week a year appeal. Many holiday lets are in fact used by business people who don’t want to stay in a hotel for example.

With the strong euro and dollar against the weak pound sterling, many people will be looking at staying in Britain this year. Advice in the ARLA article for Landlords/property owners is not to skimp on fixtures and fittings and make sure that widescreen televisions, Internet access quality kitchen and bathrooms are supplied. There should be a good heating system and this of course applies to that holiday rental in Spain or Portugal, particularly if you are attracting winter lets.

The provision of a cleaner is essential, after all your guests are on holiday and don’t want to spend the time cleaning. Dishwashers and washing machines should also be supplied.

The Agreement article goes onto to define a “Holiday Home” A property can be defined as a holiday home for tax reasons:

  • If it is available for letting to the public for at least 140 days of the year
  • It is furnished – meaning furnished so that people can live in it without having to bring their own furniture.
  • It is occupied with paying guests for at least 70 days in the year
  • If individual lets do not exceed 31days
  • If the property is not let to the same person for more than 31 days in the year.

Tax benefits are that a holiday home is treated as a business asset unlike a buy-to-let property which is currently not. Thus a holiday home is more favourably treated by the tax authorities – losses can be set against overall income and a Capital Gains Tax exemption means that owners can roll up from selling to go on to buy another holiday home (Source ARLA Agreement Magazine April 2009).

Remember regarding tax on your holiday home income, many countries have tax treaties with the UK, but you should check the situation out carefully so you don’t pay tax in two countries. Many European countries now have methods of finding out who owns a holiday home property and if the owners are paying tax.

Another important area for homeowners to consider is the insurance on the holiday let. Insurance written in English arranged via UK brokers and insurance companies make a lot of sense. To find out more visit jml-insurance.co.uk.

If you want to let that holiday property, you can advertise it at an incredibly reasonable annual cost of £11.75 including VAT at jmlvillas.com. Together with euro-rentavilla.com the website has been running since 2001.

© jml Property Services April 2009

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