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Holiday let owner says 182-day rule has ‘killed’ his business

09 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Low Tide at Sandy Haven. Photo by MrSimonWood is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Bruce Sinclair, local democracy reporter

A retiree, who owns a seaside holiday let, says the introduction of the Welsh Government 182-day rule lets has ‘killed’ his business, forcing him to rent it out full time instead.

Retired Geologist Dr John Roobol, originally from Milford Haven, has been successfully letting The Anchorage, Sandy Haven for 16 years.

He now feels the combination of Pembrokeshire County Council increasing the second homes tax premium to 200 per cent, along with a change in Welsh Government criteria where holiday lets must be filled for 182 days a year in order to qualify for business rates has “destroyed” his business.

Last April the business rate level was moved from 70 to 182 days, which Mr Roobol says he’s never exceeded, meaning he would pay the treble council tax rate on his holiday let.

Threatened

Referring to the first point he said: ““According to local estate agents many are now selling their holiday homes and the people leaving are saying they will not be back. What prosperity we know in Pembrokeshire is now threatened.”

On the 182-day rule, he added: “The huge rates increase has destroyed my business. To survive I must now cease tourist letting and switch over to full-time long-term letting. This problem is being faced by others across Wales,” he said.

“It has been a pleasure to meet the excited families arriving after long drives to their much-awaited summer holidays. Many know little about Pembrokeshire so I have written a book about it (Pembrokeshire’s Past, 2024).”

He added: “The trade had previously benefitted by having small business ratings making them exempt from paying council rates. Initially the requirement was to let for 70 days a year.

“On April 1, 2023 the Welsh Assembly raised this to 182 nights per year. This is not possible for most of us because of the long dark cold wet and windy winter weather that we experience for six months each year.

“I have never rented for more than 153 days per year, and choose not to bring tourist families here in winter. I have two properties here, one in which I lived and paid rates and the other to rent out as a small business, rates exempted.

“I will now switch to renting my ‘tourist’ house to full-time family rent. This way I will be paying single rates on each property. This will lose 10 tourist beds.”

Reduction

A call to potentially lower the 182-day rate in Pembrokeshire was heard in December in a notice of motion submitted by Councillor Huw Murphy, who asked for a reduction to 140 days, saying: “In the current economic crisis PCC need to use every tool at its disposal in supporting these businesses to survive and thrive.”

The notice, heard at the county council’s Cabinet, was not supported, members hearing from Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack that the responsibility to justify the increase lay with Cardiff, with a distinct lack of data to make an informed decision at the moment.

Members agreed to review the situation after 12 months, and to write to Welsh Government raising concerns about the issue, as well as requesting information about how the change in days is working.


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David
David
1 month ago

182 days means April to September. What is wrong with that!

Gaga73
Gaga73
1 month ago
Reply to  David

It’s April now but not exactly holiday weather 🙄

Ap Kenneth
1 month ago
Reply to  Gaga73

Neither is Christmas, New Year or August but then tourist businesses that depends on the weather is probably not a good basis for an economy?

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Families on holiday are mainly available during the school holidays not all summer.

Deiniol
Deiniol
1 month ago

Looks like the policy is working. one more house available for long term rent. he should be proud of enabling people to live in the area.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

No it isn’t a “problem”, you either comply with the law or face the consequences for not doing so.

In the case of the individual in this article, in order to comply he is renting out his property full-time.

Dew
Dew
1 month ago

The quotation marks in the headline should be around the word ‘business’.

It never was a business, only ever am exploitative colonial money grab this parasite exacted at the expense of the host community.

Bryn Davies
Bryn Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Dew

How can he be a ‘parasite’ as a Welsh native of Milford Haven, with a house he owns and paid for: having paid all his council taxes beforehand? He was boosting the local economy with 10 visitor beds each summer.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
1 month ago
Reply to  Bryn Davies

Sadly it is the politics of envy from a certain wing of the political spectrum. Try having a conversation about private landlords on other forums and that word is thrown around far too much.

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Dew

Hi Dew, I worked for 30 years as a geologist in the very hot Saudi Arabian desert to pay for the Anchorage at Sandy Haven. There is nothing parasitic about it, just hard work and much helicopter flying.

Clare
Clare
1 month ago

Oh no, you mean instead of YET another holiday let it’s created an actual home for someone? GOOD

Gaynor
Gaynor
1 month ago
Reply to  Clare

Why are we always heari g from holiday home owners and tourist ‘businesses’ and not homeless locals …even Nation Cymru succumbs to this blinkered Daily Mail POV

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
1 month ago
Reply to  Clare

This is just one example. There are many other examples of second/holiday homes sat on the market with no locals buying them.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

Yes because of all the 2ndhomes/holiday lets house prices in Wales have rocketed. Locals cannot afford to buy but the more homes up for sale the more likely it is the prices will drop to an affordable level. Bring it on.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

At the risk of repeating myself, what is ‘an affordable level’?

Joc
Joc
1 month ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

I would say affordable is 3/5 times salary

Wood
Wood
1 month ago

Good seems law is working. Keep money grabbers out and leave homes for locals

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Wood

For the 16 years I ran the Anchorage as a holiday let I broke even only. That was because I hired a housekeeper with a cleaning team of 2, a private garbage collector, gardeners, and used electricians, plumbers and builders for servicing. It take a team to run a business and creates employment in the community. There is very little work in Pembrokeshire and the tourists bring happiness and its a pleasure to meet people excited about their long awaited holidays. The non-tourist towns of Pembrokeshire, Milford Haven, Neyland, Pembroke Dock are in deplorable shape with banks and shops closing.… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
1 month ago

Good to see the policy is working. One more home available to rent for locals. In the end the more 2ndhomes/holiday lets up for sale the greater the drop in house prices for the future. Bring it on.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

I some how doubt locals will be renting this- a 5 bed detached house in Sandy Haven- I wonder what the monthly rent will be? More likely it will be snapped up by people from away wanting a nice area to work from home.

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago

Yes probably somebody in the oil/gas industry as being the only well paid jobs in the county.

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Yes but the lack of employment means the locals cannot afford to rent such a big place. We need tourist income to boost our local economy. More low-cosr housing is needed for young people.

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Hello Linda, I think you are attacking the wrong people. I remember Milford Haven in the late 1940s and 1950s. It was a drab place, weatherbeaten without new paint and flowers. Everything had gone into the war. Six million men and women returned from overseas fighting. There were few jobs, houses and little money. The survivors had fought for a better future. They reorganised the council, built numerous cheap council houses until everyone was housed. They even found some money to send some of us away to university. When I returned from working around the world I was shocked to… Read more »

Jones Arfon
Jones Arfon
1 month ago

The policy is working a family now has a long term rental home which was the intention after all.

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Jones Arfon

Kill the tourist trade and more people will be on benefits here. Young people need careers and employment not benefits. I was lucky in Milford Haven to get a scholarship to go to university. I was away with a career as a geologist fur 50 years but retired back home to find an impoverished community in my home town. My team of friends and I enjoyed the holiday let business- hard work and meeting nice people. I wrote them a book ‘Pembrokeshire’s Past’. Published last month and available in Pembrokeshire bookshops and Amazon.co.uk.

Nigel
Nigel
1 month ago

This will be another nail in the Welsh Economy, tourism is Wales’s biggest industry, less tourists = less money pumped into the local economy, the knock on effect will be huge in years to come, more pubs will close, restaurants will close

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel

I could not agree more with my hometown of Milford Haven in deplorable shape with banks and shops closing. The Welsh Assembly would be wiser to provide incentives to small businesses as previously done. not kill them with absurd rates bills. I made my small business to try to help but it is now killed.

Ap Kenneth
1 month ago

70 days a year was occupancy of less than 20% of the time, some business that is, very inefficient and yet is claimed to have brought prosperity.
A family living in the property full time will spend more locally and use local businesses a tourist never finds their way too.

John Roobol
John Roobol
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

It increased to 120 days with the EU. The best I ever did was 153 days. as I am now 80 years old I look forward to working less.

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