The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) has issued a call to the government administering the latest lockdown grant scheme specifically for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, to make sure that short-term rental businesses are “explicitly included”.
According to the association, last year many companies in the short-term rental sector had their grant applications refused, due to technicalities over whether or not they could be classified as ‘hospitality businesses’.
The STAA added that this meant that “many legitimate businesses missed out on vital funding to compensate for the loss of business they experienced when they were unable to operate, or were operating under massively reduced demand, due to restrictions limiting trading to essential stays only”.
The STAA believes that any business which derives the majority of its revenue from managing short-term rentals should be considered a ‘hospitality business’ and should qualify for the grant scheme. This should apply regardless of whether a company is operating out of an office or a high street outlet.
Previously, eligibility was determined on the basis of what business rates are paid on the property where the guest stays, and, therefore, professional operators were excluded. Many property management companies were refused grants designed for hospitality companies because the premises that they occupy weren’t actually listed as ‘hospitality and retail’ premises.
Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, said: “Whilst we recognise the need to initiate a national lockdown to help stem the spread of Covid-19 and welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of a new grant scheme, it is imperative that, this time, legitimate businesses do not miss out again on funding which could make or break their futures when the restrictions to trading explicitly include our sector.
“Everyone knows that short-term rental property management companies are an important part of the hospitality sector yet, despite this, the Government guidance implemented by Local Authorities last year led to some of our members failing to get the grants or getting significantly reduced support.
She added: “We cannot have a repeat of this situation now so the STAA would like the Government and Local Authorities to make it absolutely clear that short-term rental businesses are included in this latest round of grants.”
It is yet unclear whether the campaign for short-term rentals operating out of unconventional premises being listed as hospitality businesses would open them up for greater tax contributions in the future.