Should I pay Council Tax or Business Rates on my Airbnb? – Covid-19 Update

We have lots of names for inventory in our sector, Airbnb’s, short lets, furnished holiday lets, contactor accommodation, serviced accommodation and many more, but one thing most have in common is that they are former long term residential accommodation. Being former long term residential accommodation, they are also very likely to have been registered for Council Tax and not business rates.

The question lots of people ask themselves is should they carry on paying Council tax or change to business rates, once they turn their property into a furnished holiday let? The answer is simply, MAYBE, you have an obligation to change from council tax to business rates if you are planning to rent your property this way for more than 140 days per year.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 or Coronavirus, the UK government has introduced several measures to help small businesses, like your furnished holiday let property, which could give you some great financial help during this crisis and reduce your short term losses, here are some of the highlights:

1. If you have a mortgage? – ask for a ‘mortgage holiday’ for the next 3 months.
2. If your property is not already registered for business rates, change it as soon as possible. Once you change, you may benefit from ‘small business rates relief scheme’ and be able to claim a £10,000 grant for loss of sales AND you will certainly qualify for paying absolutely no business rates in 2020/21.
3. Furnished holiday lets rateable value for business rates is not calculated by sqm, as normal, but by the number of beds in the property (sofa beds count as one bed). Therefore I recommend that you ensure not count sofa beds or chair beds etc in your number of beds and I would consider reporting any zip and link beds as one bed.
The UK gov website for Business rates has lots of formal information and I will update this blog as the situation evolves, so check back for regular updates.
Stay safe and healthy!
Written By Steve Taggert – Managing Director 18th March 2020

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