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Massive change to Airbnb rules likely be agreed next week

A council is next week considering a move which is seen as a trigger for wider national policy changes regarding Airbnbs and other short lets.

A report to be considered by Gwynedd council’s cabinet on July 16 recommends confirming the implementation of Article 4 Direction to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation.

If agreed this would enable the council, as the local planning authority, to require property owners to obtain planning permission before changing the use of a main home into a second home or short-term holiday accommodation. The change would come into effect rapidly, from September 1.


The council held a consultation on the introduction of the Article 4 Direction during August and September 2023. 

A council spokesperson says: "Gwynedd wants to ensure that local people able to access suitable and affordable housing locally – that is key to securing the future of our communities. Unfortunately, research shows that a significant proportion of people in Gwynedd are priced out of the housing market and that is more evident in communities with higher numbers of holiday homes.

"It is therefore inevitable that the significant number of houses being used as second homes and short-term holiday accommodation is affecting the ability of the people of Gwynedd to access homes in their communities.  

"By introducing an Article 4 Direction, the Council would have a new tool to try to control the impact of second homes and holiday accommodation. The change would require owners to submit a planning application for changing the use of residential properties into second homes or short-term holiday accommodation.

"Should the council decide to go ahead, Gwynedd would become the first planning authority to use these new planning powers introduced by the [Welsh] Government. Detailed work has been carried out over the past year to set out the case for the change to be made and we are very grateful to everyone who took part during the public engagement period.”

The Welsh Government has introduced radical changes to the planning framework, giving local authorities power to manage future numbers of second homes and short-term lets.

Changes to the national planning framework have seen the introduction of three new classes of use - main home, second home and short-term accommodation. 

Each local planning authority has the power to decide whether planning permission is required to change from one use class to another by removing permitted development rights. The introduction of an Article 4 Direction allows the removal of these rights. If confirmed, Gwynedd council will be responsible for implementing it.

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  • icon

    The Welsh Government wreked the BTL market, so many landlords switched to BnB or holiday lets. Now the Welsh government and councils will wreck the tourist industry as well. What an own goal!!!


    The WAG are intent on controlling every aspect of our lives here in Wales.
    They don't like to see anyone making money unless they can have some of it for themselves for their barmy pseudo-communist policies.
    They will pursue any money-making opportunity that arises and these are becoming 'few and far between' as far as property is concerned.
    No doubt with a Labour Government now in Westminster, they will probably be likely to do the same thing in England.

  • David Hollands

    Tourist industry need the holiday let.
    Without them many small business will go bust.


    Exactly right there, Like Wells in Norfolk nothing without the rourist


    Tourism does need holiday lets but it's a bit more complicated than that.
    Mixing holiday accommodation in with standard residential properties can be problematic for various reasons.
    Having rowdy holiday makers crashing around apartment blocks late at night while paralytic is hell for permanent residents who need to be up in the morning.
    At the other end of the scale is the lone full time resident in a development that has become 90% second homes. I'm currently on holiday and have had long conversations with an 85 year old chap who downsized into a lovely flat on the Norfolk coast two years ago. He has since discovered the other 9 flats are second homes or holiday lets. He was describing how lonely and vulnerable he feels while he is there alone for week after week. It wasn't a scenario that had ever occurred to me but I can see how awful it must be to be in that situation.
    I'm usually in favour of letting market forces dictate but with so much government interference skewing the market maybe controls are needed for holiday accommodation?


    They don't appear to be concerned about that, their sole concern is following their own rhetoric.

  • icon

    Meddling with the market always leads to a boat load of ‘unintended consequences’.
    This is more bad news for Wales.

  • icon

    Be interesting to see how the VOA buckles even further under the increased demand to move to business rates….already taking some 9 months 🤨🤦🏻‍♂️

  • icon

    In principle it seems fair that it's a change of use, but it's shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Also maybe take a look at why there has been such an increase, maybe give BTL landlords the same tax benefits as holiday lets. Yes I know its all set to change next year, and not in our favour.


    Exactly, they have basically forced landlords into Airbnb with their overregulation of the PRS.

  • icon

    They are still lumpiong second homes in with short term holiday lets. A second home is unoccupied for long periods through the year and contributes nothing much to the local economy.
    A holiday let/Air Bnb brings in guests who are on holiday, spend money in all the local businesses and the landlords spend lots of money with local tradesmen and businesses, to the benefit of the whole community. I have holiday lets in one of the most popular holiday areas in rhe country and I can confirm that without a thriving holiday season most small businesses in the town would be closed in less than two years and would result in a ghost town..
    As always consultation questions are worded so as to obtain the answers the council is looking for to justify their new legislation.
    I also have an HMO in another university town in the same tourist area which was declared a section 4 area several years ago in order to prevent the conversion of houses into HMO's ifor Students. The same thing applies in that without the students livibg and spending in the town the local businesses would not survive. We also have several huge hideous square blocks of purpose built student ghettos, which most studendrs can't wait to get out of to rent a nice house in a residential area instead.


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