Holiday Lettings Price Fans Out of Eurovision

Music fans hoping to visit Liverpool for the Eurovision Song Contest have had their room bookings cancelled - only for hotels and landlords to put them straight back on sale for hundreds of pounds more. 

Liverpool was named the host city for the glittering competition earlier this week. Still, the initial celebrations soon soured as dozens of short lets and hotel rooms were readvertised for several thousand pounds a night. 

Websites Airbnb and have lists of hotel rooms and holiday lets selling for between £1,000 and £8,000 a night. Many were previously marketed at £100 to £350 a night. 

Now, organisers for the extravaganza in May are trying to head off the room gold rush from greedy operators by opening other accommodation, like cruise ships and campsites. 

Liverpool was picked to host the contest after last year’s winner, Ukraine, was judged too dangerous to host the event. Liverpool is twinned with the south Ukraine port city of Odesa.

Grossly inflated prices

The Eurovision Song Contest is watched by 160 million viewers and is expected to boost Liverpool’s economy by up to £30 million. 

Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram said no one should stay away from Eurovision because of the high cost of staying in the city.

"For our area, it is a fantastic chance to showcase all that is good in a great city - and beyond," he said. 

"That is why it is so disappointing to see some businesses in our region who have jumped at the chance to inflate prices grossly. 

"I've called this behaviour out several times before, especially when football fans have been ripped off for flights and accommodation."

Holiday Let FAQ

What is a short-let property?

A short-let property is a room, house or flat booked for less than 30 days. Typical short-let accommodation is a holiday cottage or a hotel room.

How do I make a buy to let a short let?

You do not have to do anything. Just market the property differently through websites like or Airbnb.

Do short lets attract tax breaks?

Yes, short lettings that qualify as furnished holiday lets are charged business rates rather than council tax. However, due to government efforts to boost business growth, landlords pay little or no business rates, while some areas, such as Wales, charge triple council tax on holiday homes. 

Owners of furnished holiday lets also benefit from entrepreneur’s relief on capital gains tax and capital allowances on furniture, equipment and fixtures, while profits count as income for pension purposes. 

However, holiday let rules vary between England, Scotland and Wales.

What are the holiday let rules to qualify for tax breaks?

HM Revenue & Customs set some strict rules that holiday let owners must meet to qualify for tax breaks. The home must be available to let for 210 days in a tax year and let to paying guests for 105 days. The property cannot become a holiday let if lets of 31 days or more add up to more than 155 days a year. 

Properties that fail to meet the rules can use averaging and periods of grace to try to qualify as a holiday let.

Where can I find out more about holiday let tax?

Download a free HMRC guide to holiday let tax rules online.

Must my holiday let be in the UK?

No, the property must be in the European Economic Area (EEA) to qualify for tax breaks.

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