“Dorset’s economy relies heavily on tourism and second homes are needed to keep it alive,” says the director of Dorset’s largest independent holiday letting agency.

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Dorset’ Cottage Holidays is calling for the government to ease restrictions placed on second homeowners amid the proposal of new Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) legislation due to come into place in April 2025.

The legislation, which was proposed in the Spring 2024 budget in March, introduced changes to property investment tax, affecting both holiday lets and second homes.

As part of this impactful decision, the Chancellor confirmed that the government will be abolishing the current £300 million furnished holiday letting scheme, which allowed landlords to benefit from a tax break of up to £4,000 a year when making £30,000 a year in rent.

Leanne Hemingway, director of Dorset Cottage Holidays, says holiday let owners are being unfairly targeted by the proposed new FHL legislation, and notes that it will not result in more homes for locals and will damage the local economy.

She said: “Living here in Dorset, we understand the need for local housing for local people. But we also appreciate more than most that Dorset’s economy relies heavily on tourism.

“Second homeowners that let their homes contribute to the local economy, providing much-needed bed space to ensure the cafes, attractions, pubs and shops thrive.

“FHL owners have done nothing wrong by investing long term in a home that helps the local tourism trade – alternative employment is limited in Dorset’s rural communities and tourism helps to protect our landscape from development.”

Leanne adds that it’s important for second homeowners to consider letting their home to holidaymakers to support local businesses.

“However, we do believe that vacant second homes are an entirely different proposition to holiday lets that create employment.

“For this, efforts should be made to bring this accommodation into the local housing pool or move to holiday letting to contribute to the community financially.

“A social housing scheme and protection for new builds would be a more successful route to providing cheaper accommodation for local people.”

Amid the changing industry landscape, Dorset Cottage Holidays, Dorset’s largest independent letting agency, proudly marks its 25th anniversary.

Since its establishment over two decades ago, the family-owned holiday letting agency has offered a comprehensive property management service for homeowners in many of Dorset’s prolific locations.

The agency’s portfolio of holiday properties prioritises high-quality, unforgettable holiday experiences as they host thousands of guests visiting the county each year.

To celebrate this significant milestone, in May, Dorset Cottage Holiday will be unveiling a refreshed brand identity and the launch of an innovative new website, designed to enhance the guest experience and adapt to evolving business trends.

Leanne Hemingway said: “The industry is facing challenges, but we are looking ahead to the future. We’ve built a legacy on integrity, trust, and a passion for showcasing the beauty of Dorset.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of our local community, and with our new website and rebrand, we will continue to do everything we can to encourage people to escape to Dorset”.

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