Council prepares for consultation on upping second homes council tax premiums
Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
Evidence about second home ownership in Pembrokeshire is to be gathered before a public consultation on upping council tax premiums is launched.
There has been a push to increase the premium on second homes – currently 50 per cent – to reduce the impact on communities across the county as house and rent prices continue to rise and price locals out of the area.
Cabinet member for housing Cllr Michelle Bateman said there was a “housing crisis” with around 1,000 people joining the council waiting list in the last year, combined with increasing rents and unaffordable house prices.
“The impact of second homes is not just limited to communities with a high percentage of second homes in it, it’s felt across Pembrokeshire,” added Cllr Bateman.
The premium can be used to increase the supply of affordable housing and enhancing the sustainability of local communities.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, cabinet member for finance said that property prices were increasing, and selling fast, with anecdotal evidence of more people moving into the area where “demand is outstripping supply.”
This has been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the increase in home working, cabinet heard.
Increasing council tax would not be the only solution, he added, “it needs more than that,” with reference at the meeting to planning policy, protecting the Welsh language, school impact and affordable housing.
The transferring of a single second home to a rental business for rate relief was a way of “avoiding a surcharge” and should be better limited to those with multiple properties, argued Cllr Kilmister, although this is a Welsh Government policy.
“The argument that we need to do something on this is strong. The public consultation will be very interesting. There will be those that are dead against it and those that are dead for it and er need to use that information in a constructive manner,” said Cllr Kilmister.
A review of long-term empty properties, second homes and holiday lets will be carried out before analysis and reports to scrutiny committees, alongside consideration relevant Notices of Motion, before a public consultation planned for July.