Owners of French holiday lets primed for change

Changes to furnished holiday lets criteria, set out in last year’s Finance Bill have now come into force.

The eligibility thresholds to qualify for furnished holiday letting tax (FHL) reliefs have increased, with the annual minimum that owners of holiday lets in the UK and EEA needing to let their property increasing from 10 weeks (70 days) to 15 weeks (105 days). Furthermore, whereas previously a property had to be available to let for an annual minimum of 20 weeks to qualify, it must now be available for 30 weeks (210 days).

Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies, of holidaylettings.co.uk says: ”Filling the additional five weeks a year may seem daunting, but demand for holiday villas and cottages continues its growth in popularity and is currently tracking at 20% ahead year to date. The growth in demand, along with improved marketing, should help owners achieve the extra weeks’ rental they need to continue claiming the FHL tax benefits.”

Holidaylettings.co.uk suggests steps to fill those extra five weeks including:

Decide when to offer and market seasonal discounts as these could be key to selling a few extra weeks.

Maximise your reach. Ensure your offering can be found on the most popular accommodation websites, in local tourist offices and by optimising your personal website (if applicable).

Ask previous guests to write a review of their stay and offer them a discount to return again or pass on to their friends. Keep them updated on your special offers and new facilities.

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If pictures say a thousand words, a video says millions. Take one of your property (room by room walk-through plus garden and views). Add it to all your online advertising elements, share through your Facebook and Twitter accounts, upload to YouTube with a useful title and ask your friends to share it too.

Kate adds: “The financial benefits of increasing annual occupancy by just five weeks can be significant. For example, a three-bedroom French g�te earns from around �417 a week, which could mean an additional �2,085 gross a year. While on the face of it the new rules may seem disheartening, they’re actually a reminder of the income potential in holiday lets just as they’re becoming ever more popular.”

For more information, visit www.holidaylettings.co.uk