Drakeford and Price announce that councils will be allowed to control number of second homes
Local authorities will be allowed to control the number of second homes in communities as part of a new crackdown announced by Mark Drakeford and Adam Price.
The First Minister and Plaid Cymru leader will also allow councils to require planning permission to change a house to a holiday let or second home.
They will also require holiday lets to require a license to operate.
The Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government cooperation agreement, unveiled last year, included a commitment to take action to curb the impact of second homes on communities in Wales.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We are today setting out the next steps in a radical programme to ensure everyone has the opportunity to afford to live in their local community – whether that’s buying or renting a home.
“We have a shared ambition for Wales to be a nation of thriving communities – a country where people do not have to leave to find good and rewarding work and a country which people want to come to visit and to live.
“Tourism is vital to our economy but having too many holiday properties and second homes, which are empty for much of the year, does not make for healthy local communities and prices people out of the local housing market.
“There is no single, simple solution to these issues. Any action we take must be fair. We do not want to create any unintended consequences, which could destabilise the wider housing market or make it harder for people to rent or buy.”
‘Right to live at home’
The package of measures being announced today includes:
- Changes to planning regulations by the end of the summer. These will introduce three new planning use classes – a primary home, a second home and short-term holiday accommodation. Local planning authorities, where they have evidence, will be able to make amendments to the planning system to require planning permission for change of use from one class to another.
- The Welsh Government will also introduce changes to national planning policy to give local authorities the ability to control the number of second homes and holiday lets in any community.
- Plans to introduce a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation, including short-term holiday lets, making it a requirement to obtain a license. This will help raise standards across the tourism industry.
- Following a consultation about varying land transaction tax locally in areas with large numbers of second homes, work will start today (Monday 4 July) with local authorities to develop a national framework so they can request increased land transaction tax rates for second homes and holiday lets to be applied in their local area.
The Welsh Government have already confirmed that they will carry on with plans for tax hikes on holiday lets that do not rent out their properties for more than half the year.
Following a consultation, from April local authorities will be able to set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties to 300% from April 2023.
The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change at the same time, from 70 to 182 days.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said: “We are committed to using a range of planning, taxation and property levers to tackle the issue of second and unaffordable homes – and to do so with urgency.
“The package of purposeful measures that have been developed as a result of the constructive cooperation between Plaid Cymru and the Government in this area will, together, begin to address the injustices in our housing system and make a real difference to people and communities right across our nation.
“The aim is to give everyone ‘yr hawl i fyw adra’– the ability to live and work in the communities in which they grew up.”
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