Short-term rental companies should be explicitly included in the latest lockdown grant scheme for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, after many lost out on compensation for losing bookings last time due to technicalities over whether they could be classified as hospitality businesses.
The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) believes with the prospect of several weeks or months without an income, many small firms need grant funding to enable them to survive until the market can open up again.
It argues any business that derives the bulk of its revenue from managing short-term rentals should be considered a hospitality business and qualify for the grant scheme.
Eligibility was previously determined on the basis of what business rates are paid on the property where a guest stays, which meant professional operators were excluded; many property management companies were refused grants designed for hospitality companies because their premises aren’t listed as ‘hospitality and retail’ premises.
STAA chair Merilee Karr (pictured, below) says it’s imperative that legitimate businesses don’t miss out again on funding.
“The government has issued clarification regarding hotels and B&Bs but hasn’t included short-term rental properties in that and, because the grants are awarded at the discretion of local authorities, it can lead to a situation where short-term rental companies could struggle to access grant funding,” says Karr.
“All we are asking for is a level playing field across the whole of the hospitality sector.”
It’s estimated that short-term rental businesses make up around 10% of the UK’s accommodation supply.