Holiday Homes after Covid
During the pandemic a rush to the countryside has occurred, by those feeling safer in rural locations, those who suddenly discovered remote working, and those wanting a UK holiday when foreign parts were tricky or impossible. The pressure on rural housing has been great and remains so. This is increasing the political pressure to control the number of both personal second homes and commercially-let holiday homes, which are a completely different thing. The latter attract tourists who bring in money and create local employment in services and hospitality. But nobody wants to see ghost villages that cannot support any amenities in winter and we cannot deny our sympathy for local people unable to afford a house. A balance must be struck. The threat is often in the detail of any changes that may happen and I fear that politicians may invent measures that do damage to our tourism industry, in a bid to appease this pressure. We shall see, but it doesn’t require the skills of Nostradamus to foresee controversy in the next few years as is currently raging in Scotland.
More immediately there is to be a government consultation on compulsory registration of holiday homes for rent. The HHA supports this: we want to see a level playing field as between commercial holiday accommodation and ad-hoc letting by owners who sometimes don’t meet all the standards they should. This is the first step as there is currently no way of identifying all the holiday homes that exist and we don’t know for sure how many there are. Again, the detail will demand close scrutiny.
Further ahead we can see measures to combat climate change potentially having an impact on holiday homes. Once before we managed to see off a requirement for energy performance certification of properties only used in the summer without heating!! Demands for heat pumps and insulation of summer houses are also in the soothsayer’s sights. Perhaps more imminently we can see that holiday homes will need facilities to charge electric cars and we may miss out on the government’s largesse in subsidising these if we don’t wave the flag for the industry.
Lastly in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster changes to fire safety legislation have been made this year and there may be more to come, including back-door changes through guidance, that, if not followed, generates a presumption of guilt. It could lead to costs for holiday home owners for ever-greater precautions that are not commensurate with the level of risk.
All these things and more are things that a trade association needs to watch for and try to influence – often because without a strong voice for the industry holiday accommodation can be completely overlooked and absurd rules imposed as a result. That’s why owners should come together to make their voices known.
Holiday Home Association