The Welsh Government is to bring in its promised local tax rules for holiday lets to address the problem of unaffordable housing.

Self-catering accommodation in hotspots such as Tenby (pictured) currently pays rates rather than council tax when available to let for at least 140 days, and ‘actually’ let for at least 70 days.

From next April, these thresholds will increase to being available to let for at least 252 days and ‘actually’ let for at least 182 days in any 12-month period, to prove that they are being let regularly and making a substantial contribution to the local economy.

Second homes

The government has also announced that the maximum level at which local authorities can set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties will be increased to 300%, also effective from April next year.

sian gwenlian holiday lets

Sian Gwenllian, the designed Member of the Senedd on the policy who represents Plaid Cymru (pictured) says these changes will make a difference, enabling councils to respond to their local circumstances, and will start to close the loophole in the current law.

“It’s a first, but important, step on a journey towards a new housing system that ensures that people have the right to live in their community,” she adds.

Gwenllian says that it is committed to introducing a package of measures to tackle the injustices in the housing market. “Second homes are a symptom of a wider problem – a market that treats property, not as a home, but as a way of making a profit.

By working across the parties in the Senedd, we will introduce more measures, as soon as we can, to make house prices and rents genuinely affordable for people.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. When all the second home owners sell up they will be complaining about the lack of tourists coming to Wales!

    Perhaps the answer is to build more affordable hows for locals whilst leaving the second home owners to spend their hard earn money in the local community.

    As ever, Govt blaming other people for their failures!

    • Disagree – 2nd home owners can only “contribute” in the local community at whichever home they’re in at any one time and they’re only likely to visit that 2nd home a few weeks a year. They should be paying far more in Council Tax for that 2nd home.

      However, BUSINESSES (which actually let properties for holidays) are being penalised by this 183 day rule – it’s extremely difficult to let most (certainly not all) holiday homes for 6 months of the year.

      It’s funny that to get those higher occupancy rates for a holiday let – the local authority need to make the area attractive enough to visit outside of the main holiday period, and I can’t think of too many such destinations.

      • I completely agree. We have a property in West Wales that we have rented as a holiday let for the past 15 years. It’s open 365 days a year but has been booked, on average, for 120-130 days. We have had the odd let ‘out of season’, to keen walkers or people visiting family living locally. The feedback always is that they were disappointed at how little was open – and often, of course, by the relentless wind and rain!

        By contrast, guests who stay during the summer months always enthuse about all the places they’ve eaten out at, the (paying) attractions they’ve visited, the local cheeses they’ve brought home etc. etc. We have also employed the same local woman to do the cleaning and laundry for the past 15 years (and have been very happy to pay well above the minumum wage which is the norm in many of the other local jobs) plus a local outside maintence company, tradespeople and a waste disposal company.

        There’s no way we’re going to be able to increase the number of days we are able to let to over 182. We’ll give it a few months to see if there’s going to be any leeway for existing holiday let owners on that figure, otherwise we’ll be selling up. Yes, the property might sell to a local, but given that the local economy is based on tourism, they may not have a job in a year or two, and/or find that half their local pubs and shops have closed.

  2. I imagine a 2nd home owner who may only use the place for 6 or 8 weeks of the year would still inject more into the economy than one low paid worker would in a year. I doubt a low paid worker would eat out that often, buy the local tourist tat, spend on attractions etc etc. And whilst one individual 2nd home owner may not make a huge difference, collectively all those tourist weeks add up and, given the national average holiday let is only 20 weeks, this policy could result in an exodus.

    Once again, it’ll be a case of labour run councils looking for ways to prioritise the needs of the low paid and “disadvantaged” forgetting, of course, where the money comes from and, in this case those who actually bring the money into these communities, communities that would otherwise be forgotten backwaters with all the social deprivation we witness in other neglected tourist towns.

    • I have a place in Devon I only use for short breaks. But even when I am not there I pay for a local gardener, I keep the place in good condition having just spent £17,000 on a re-roof with a local firm as well as a host of upgrades and other regular maintenance jobs such as boiler servicing and electrical work. Plus I pay for council funded services I hardly use. It’s not just the tourist dollar where the local community benefits, it’s all the other businesses and trades we support so, on the one hand you could argue I am taking a home away from a local but I, and the likes of me, go a long way towards paying the wages of the locals even though we don’t use the home that often.

    • this ‘punishment’ of small business and 2nd homeowners has been driven by Plaid Cymru, and is being delivered by the mainly Labour Senedd; a high price for support and they will lose business votes over it no doubt.

  3. I’m reflecting on the ‘new rules’ too and cant see that they will be achievable; letting out of main season is usually for 2nd or short holidays and with the many reasons given in previous posts its going to make many owners fall short. The business rate relief needs to be abolished and those who do let should contribute that way rather than being forced to reach an unrealistic level of occupancy.
    The lack of council/social housing by years of underinvestment forces the young into private rental or trying to buy, when many pay grades do not support either option; we have never lived in a utopia where all can afford home ownership and blaming 2nd home owners who choose to spend their holidays and money in this country isnt the answer.

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