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Government clampdown on Airbnbs, holiday lets and second homes

Councils will be able to control numbers of second homes and holiday lets under new plans unveiled by the Welsh Government.

There will also be a licensing scheme for home owners and landlords who want to operate short lets, such as Airbnbs.

First Minister Mark Drakeford and nationalist party Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price made the announcement as made as part of their co-operation agreement to run the Welsh Government.


There will be three new classes of property in the Welsh planning system: a primary home, second home and short-term holiday accommodation.

Councils will then be able to make amendments to the planning system to require planning permission for change of use from one class to another.

There are also powers to be given to councils to apply for higher Land Transaction Tax (the Welsh version of stamp duty) on second homes and short lets.

It has already been agreed that Welsh councils can charge up to a 300 per cent premium on council tax on homes that aren’t occupied all year round 

Drakeford, who leads the Labour Party in Wales, says that while tourism is "vital" to the Welsh economy, a glut of holiday properties and second homes damages communities and prices people out of local housing markets.

He says: "We will work with local authorities to develop a national framework, so they can put to us, proposals for increased land transaction rates for second homes and holiday lets, which they can then apply to their local areas. 

"The finance minister has written to the local authorities today, so that work can begin on those proposals. 

"Some of these measures are about making access to the market fairer. Others are about a better balance between second homes and holiday lets in local communities.” 

Plaid Cymru’s Price says a holiday home licensing scheme will help control the housing system and "level the playing field" for tourism accommodation providers.

Drakeford says steps will also be taken to support people to buy homes. 

He comments: "The Welsh language housing communities plan which will be published in September will include proposals to give local people a fair chance in the housing market. 

"In that context, we are investigating the possibility of reintroducing local authority mortgages here in Wales, particularly aimed at first time buyers. 

"In the context of the cost of living crisis, backing from the local authority would help people access those mortgages with greater affordability at the heart of those arrangements." 

These measures are by some margin the most draconian on second and holiday homes anywhere in the UK.

English councils have the power to double council tax bills on second homes not in use or let for at least 70 days per year.

Spot checks on holiday homes in England to ensure compliance with health and safety rules and deter anti-social behaviour have also been announced.

All short-term let properties in Scotland will require a licence to ensure they are safe and the people providing them are suitable, starting on October 1 this year.

Existing operators will have until April 2023 to apply for a licence.

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  • icon

    Always on the cards, England next…. Once the current disaster in No.10 has been dealt with.

  • icon

    Well get ready for a massive sell off, in my opinion.

    Regrettably, I will look to investing in properties overseas where the government welcome investment.

    I would highly recommend ur home countries to look at this with a balanced view and not in a way that demonises those whom wish to invest in their country.

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    I've been regretting having all my property investments in Scotland over recent years but I am now grateful I haven't any in Wales.

    The only crumb of comfort is that every interference by the loony Scottish "governments" has pushed up market rents and the same will inevitably happen in Wales.

    The end user always pays for Government interference as the current price of energy proves. Market forces always prevail.

  •  G romit

    It avoids the failings of the Welsh Government in not building more houses especially affordable houses. If there were lots more houses this whole fiasco over second homes/holidays/investors wouldn't exist.

  • icon

    Come on. Who let this Welsh Assembly crowd out of the asylum?


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