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Holiday lets occupancy rules

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The furnished holiday let (FHL) rules allow holiday lettings of properties that meet certain conditions to be treated as a trade for tax purposes.

In order to qualify as a furnished holiday letting, the following occupancy criteria need to be met:

  • The property must be let on a commercial basis with a view to the realisation of profits. Second homes or properties that are only let occasionally or to family and friends do not qualify.
  • The property must be located in the UK, or in a country within the EEA.
  • The property must be available for commercial letting at commercial rates for at least 30 weeks (210 days) per year.
  • The property must be let for at least 15 weeks (105 days) per year and home owners should be able to demonstrate the income from these lettings.
  • The property must not be used for more than 155 days for longer term occupation (i.e. a continuous period of more than 31 days).

The FHL scheme offers valuable tax reliefs provided all the necessary conditions are met, but it requires vigilance to ensure that FHL status is not lost due to reduced occupancy. It is wise to review your FHL status part way through each tax year. We offer FHL landlords a tax audit, please call if you would like us to check out your current status. 

Planning notes:

Where there are a number of furnished holiday lettings properties in a business, it is possible to average the days of lettings for the purposes of qualifying for the 15 weeks threshold. This is called an averaging election.

There is also a "special period of grace" election which allows homeowners to treat a year as a qualifying year for the purposes of the furnished holiday let rules where they genuinely intended to meet the occupancy threshold but were unable to do so subject to a number of qualifying conditions.

In any other cases, where the qualifying conditions are not met, the normal property income rules apply.

Finally, trading losses from a furnished holiday lettings business can only be set off against qualifying future FHL profits.

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