Holiday lets and second homes face scrutiny in Wales

Wales: The Welsh Government is set to launch a clampdown on holiday lets and second homes this summer, over concerns about housing affordability and availability concerns.

The Labour-led administration has pledged to introduce a pilot scheme within the next two months that will trial a registration scheme for all holiday and self-catered accommodation and a consultation on taxes that second homeowners would be required to pay.

Wales’ Labour-led administration is to announce a three-pronged approach to affordability issues – and it looks likely to involve a clampdown on second homes.

Among the issues that the pilot scheme would address are affordability and availability of housing, the regulatory framework, planning law and registration schemes for holiday accommodation, and a “fairer contribution” to national and regional taxation schemes by second homeowners, according to the government in Wales.

Wales became the first country in the UK to give local authorities the power to charge a 100 per cent council tax increase on second homes last year.

Welsh Labour politician and Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, told Letting Agent Today: “The continuing rise of house prices mean people, especially younger generations, can no longer afford to live in the communities they have grown up in. A high concentration of second homes or holiday lets can have a very detrimental impact on small communities, and in some areas could compromise the Welsh language being spoken at a community level.

“Our new three-pronged approach will kick-start a summer of action which will determine how we tackle this issue now and into the future. I am calling on all political parties across the Senedd to get involved in this, as we look to empower our communities to exercise their right to live in good quality homes, wherever they are in Wales.”

Elsewhere in the UK, discussions surrounding licensing laws for short-term lets in Scotland are going to a third public round of consultation, which will run until 13 August in popular tourism destinations such as Edinburgh.

With the latest delay, councils will now have until 1 October 2022, rather than the initial April 2022 deadline, to establish a licensing scheme for short-term lets. Under the current proposed legislation, all hosts and operators would be required to apply for a licence by 1 April 2023 and all short-term lets would have to be fully licensed by 1 April 2024.

Owners of short-term lets will be required to obtain a licence from their local council, otherwise they will face a penalty of up to £50,000.