New rules on holiday lets in England and Wales have taken effect which could force many owners to pay council tax instead of business rates.
Self-catering properties in England must now be available for letting commercially for short periods of 140 nights or more in the previous and current year, and actually let commercially for at least 70 nights in the previous 12 months, to continue to be eligible for business rates.
Properties in Wales will only be eligible for business rates if they are available to let commercially for short periods totalling 252 nights or more in the previous and current year, and actually let commercially for at least 182 nights in the previous 12 months.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will look at whether the property was occupied immediately before midnight to establish whether it was let on a certain night.
This means that a property let out from Friday evening to Sunday morning would have been let for two nights for the purposes of meeting the self-catering criteria.
The new rules apply only to properties classified as self-catering holiday lets by the VOA within the broad use category of short stay accommodation in hotspots like Dartmouth (pictured); they don't apply to hotels, hostels, and guest houses.
Valuation officers check that properties listed as self-catering meet the eligibility rules by asking owners for details via the Request for Information form, which will be sent out soon. A rolling programme will ask for information at different times during the 2023/24 operating year.