The Yorkshire Dales [Photo Credit: Illiya Vjestica]

Holiday homeowners in York claim £4.8m in grant funding

UK: Approximately £4.8m million worth of grants to support businesses through the pandemic in York have been claimed by holiday homeowners.

This represents 466 successful applications out of the 2,500 eligible businesses in the city.

The measures are part of larger business relief measures throughout Yorkshire, which are designed to keep smaller businesses afloat during this crisis. According to The Yorkshire Post, up to £30 million may have been provided across Yorkshire and Humberside.

Additional funding includes £3.8 million in Richmondshire and over £2.4 million in Harrogate, in addition to that in York itself. Concerns have been raised, however, that certain claims may have been fraudulent.

Real estate advisor Altus Group suggested that, though many properties had legitimately received grants, other may have been second homes registered for commercial use in order to avoid certain taxes. While grants may only be given to those open to rentals at least 120 days of the year, no requirement is made that those days be occupied.

Robert Hayton, head of business rates at Altus, said: “It cannot be right that second home owners, who make them available to rent for as little as 20 weeks a year, are set for cash grants, while many businesses who share space or those with business rates inclusive rents, are set to miss out.”

Martin Sach, head of the Holiday Home Association, rebutted by insisting that though fraudulent claims may be made, legitimate tourism businesses needed the funding in order to survive. Leeds Council, who were in charge of similar funding, were similarly unconcerned about funding legitimacy.

“The council consistently checks the legitimacy of registrations of holiday lets and so we do not believe this support that is vital for so many business owners has been misused. We recognise this may be more of a concern in places where economies are dominated by tourism.”

The news of funding for short-term rentals comes as many owners and hosts are currently struggle fiscally. Hosts on the Airbnb platform claim major struggles to receive grants from the company’s $250 million host fund.

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