North Norfolk District Councillors voted in favour of a Lib Dem ‘Second Home Business Rate Relief Motion,' which seeks to call on the Government to legislate that those hoping to submit a property as a Furnished Holiday Let (FHL) must provide evidence of occupancy levels.
This is in a bid to close a “loophole” meaning they can then claim for Small Business Rates relief – regardless of how many days they are actually making the property available to let.
Cllr Withington (Lib Dem), who proposed the motion, commented: “We have to acknowledge it’s unfair that you have to prove you have got a disability so that you can get a discount on your council tax of a few hundred pounds, and yet someone has to provide no evidence of the fact they are a fully furnished holiday let. [They are] then possibly eligible for business rates relief and are paying nothing towards the amenities and the benefits that North Norfolk provides. For me, it’s purely about setting it right so that people are paying fairly for what they are receiving the benefit for.”
Cllr Heinink (Lib Dem), who seconded the motion, added: “It’s simply an issue of fairness, whereby those who use North Norfolk services should make a fair contribution to their costs. To require proof of commercial occupancy levels is a proportionate response given the considerable sums that this Council is potentially losing through this loophole.”
The motion was passed with 36 in favour and two abstentions.