The purpose of a Holiday Let is to give the tenant the right to occupy the property for a genuine holiday. If it is not a genuine holiday, then it is not a Holiday Let no matter what is stated in the tenancy or contractual agreement. It is very important that agents and landlords investigate this carefully.
Holiday Lets are specifically excluded from the rights and protections of the Housing Act 1988. Schedule 1, paragraph 9 of the Act states that tenancies which cannot be assured tenancies include “a tenancy the purpose of which is to confer on the tenant the right to occupy the dwelling-house for a holiday.” The purpose of paragraph 9 is to prevent people from obtaining security for what was proposed to be a short-term holiday let.
Holiday lets can be granted for chalets, flats, houses or even bungalows and deposits do not need to be registered if they are taken as the occupation agreements will not be ASTs. However, the landlord and tenant must have a common intention at the time the letting took place that it was to be a holiday let. Consequently, a written term giving ‘the tenant the right to occupy for the purpose of a holiday’ or similar wording will be conclusive unless the tenant demonstrates that the holiday let is a sham. It is for the tenant to do this. In Buckmann v May (1976), the court held that the tenant must prove that the contractual term providing for the holiday let did not accord with what both parties knew to be the purpose of the letting at the time of its creation; in other words that the stated purpose was untrue.
Interestingly, the Right to Rent requires the landlord to show that the property is not covered by the right to rent provisions. The right to rent does not apply to holiday lets. However, the code of practice issued by the Home Office states that they are unlikely to accept that a tenancy is a holiday let if it is for more than three months or if it is renewed.
Landlords and agents should always take care with holiday lets and should make efforts to ensure that the property is genuinely being used for the purposes of a holiday. In some cases, and in some locations, this may be fairly obvious. In some situations, extra evidence may be required.