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Cost of renting in Wales soaring due to proliferation of holiday lets, say campaigners

19 Aug 2021 4 minutes Read
The keys to a property

The cost of renting a property in Wales has soared because of the proliferation of holiday lets, according to a campaign group.

Baroness Alicia Kennedy, director of the Generation Rent campaign, said that it costs around one quarter more to rent a home in regions popular with holidaymakers than it did two years ago.

Wales was hardest hit in the UK with the number of properties available to let down by as much as 53% in two years, with rents increasing by 26% in the same time period.

Generation Rent said that there was now “unbearable pressure on renters” in popular tourist communities. They called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to withdraw mortgage interest relief from landlords of furnished holiday lets, as part of creating “a level playing field with the wider private rented sector.”

They also called on governments to “regulate the holiday lets market, ensure owners of holiday lets and second homes pay enough council tax, and build enough homes to allow people to stay in the areas where they grew up”.

Baroness Kennedy said: “Self-catering accommodation plays an essential role for the tourist industry, but it is too easy for landlords to evict locals from their homes to make way for more lucrative holidaymakers.

“As a result communities are being torn apart and businesses that serve tourists struggle to find staff. The situation is unsustainable.

“The government must give councils powers to tax and regulate their local holiday lets market appropriately, but should also act directly to take tax perks away from holiday lets so we keep homes available for people who need one.”

Plan

Earlier this week it was revealed that Wales has seen the biggest increase in house prices in the UK.

Rightmove said there had been a 2.3% rise in the past month alone and a 10.9% increase year-on-year. The Principality Building Society reported that the average price in Wales had now hit a new peak of £215,810.

Plaid Cymru’s housing spokesperson Mabon ap Gwynfor also reacted to the highest ever house prices in Wales, saying it was “further proof that Wales is in the middle of a housing crisis”.

“Wales has seen a 2.3% rise in house prices in the past month alone and a 10.9% increase year-on-year overall. People are being priced out of their communities at an alarming pace,” he said.

“And it’s not just rural and coastal Wales. It’s the valleys too. Median gross weekly earnings in Torfaen, for example, is just £554.58 but has seen one of the highest sale rates at 80%.”

Last month the Welsh Government unveiled its plan to tackle the homes crisis, which is blamed for driving up prices and making communities in many rural areas unaffordable.

It will include setting up a pilot area in Wales where new measures will be trialled before a wider rollout.

The Welsh Government’s three-pronged approach will focus on:

  • Support addressing the affordability and availability of housing;
  • The introduction of a statutory registration scheme for holiday accommodation;
  • Using national and local taxation systems to ensure second home owners make a fair and effective contribution to the communities in which they buy.

Minister Julie James said at the time that the continuing rise of house prices meant that people, especially younger generations, could no longer afford to live in the communities they had 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,” she said.

“We have already taken strides on some of these issues – last year we became the only nation in the UK to give local authorities the power to introduce a 100% council tax levy on second homes.

“But the urgency and gravity of this situation calls for further intervention, which means real and ambitious actions are delivered at pace, to inject fairness back into the housing system.

“Taking recommendations from Dr [Simon] Brooks’ report, 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.”

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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
1 month ago

This needs addressing – and fast! The greed of these property owners is an absolute disgrace and is a kick in the teeth for Welsh people, especially the young.

Tim
Tim
1 month ago

it’s not just in the holiday communities of the west, we feel it in the cities of the east of wales too

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

The Welsh Government may have to look at a rental cap for certain areas. How can you justify high rentals in areas such as the Valleys with such low income ? It’s wrong. We can’t have greed forcing our young out of the rental market too – where the hell are they supposed to live?

Dim problem
Dim problem
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Yes exactly – rents shouldn’t dramatically outstrip incomes in an area.

I’m so angry at the greed of some of these landlords, I’m never going to use anything like AirBnB again. I’ll stay in a real guest house or hotel instead.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

Yesterday BTL landlords were the scum of the earth and today we desperately need more rental property. Yet another example of knee jerk reaction and a failure to join the dots.

If there is a silver bullet solution it is a huge social home building programme given planning permissin priority over landbanked private development. Use it or lose it, and I am not talking just PP but compulsory purchase at zero profit.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Well said. Hope they take it up.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

YES

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Place down the street from me, ideal starter home, has just been snapped up as an AirB&B, despite being in the middle of a not particularly attractive, albeit quiet, town. Bloody colonisers, eh? Except it was bought by someone from Cardiff.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Plenty of people from Cardiff who have more in common with colonisers than with the people who live in the worst affected areas. They regard themselves as “above” Wales rather than part of it.

David
David
1 month ago

Could the problem be the high number of Housing Associations operating in Wales?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
1 month ago
Reply to  David

That’s a separate problem that needs addressing; it’s not the cause of unaffordability in the private rental sector, which seems to be down to Air B’n B, holiday lets, and some greedy landlords.

David
David
1 month ago

I believe that one of the major reasons for the proliferation of holiday lets is as a result of legislation by both Welsh and central UK Governments. Private landlords are increasingly turning away from financially and emotionally unfeasible ‘Housing Act’ tenancies. Here are differences, zoomed-out: HOUSING ACT / RENTING HOMES (WALES) TENANCIES 1. Tenants pay one month’s rent in advance of getting the keys. Meanwhile, the contract is long-term with no guarantee of subsequent months being paid (an understood and accepted risk). Oftentimes, a deposit is paid — but it is seldom enough to cover major damage or long-term rent… Read more »

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