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Second home owners in Carmarthenshire could face doubling of council tax

10 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Myddfai in Carmarthenshire. Photo by gwallter is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Second home owners in Carmarthenshire could face a doubling of council tax under proposals approved by cabinet.

The second home recommendation is for a 50% or 100% council tax premium, subject to public consultation and approval by full council.

This is slightly different to the recommendation outlined in the cabinet report.

Cabinet members also approved a council tax premium recommendation for owners of long-term empty homes.

Owners of properties which have been empty for one to two years would pay a 50% premium, increasing to 100% for those which have been empty for two to five years.

There would be a further hike to 200% for properties empty for five years or more.

Carmarthenshire’s Plaid Cymru-Independent authority has held back from imposing a council tax premium on second homes, despite concerns about their impact on the availability and affordability of properties in hotspot areas, until regulatory changes had been made in Wales.

Recommendations

After the new recommendations were approved, council leader Darren Price said: “This is the start of that journey.”

Nine of Wales’s 22 local authorities have a second homes varying council tax premiums, while 11 have a premium for long-term empty homes.

As of April this year, premiums as high as 300% can be charged on second homes.

There was very little discussion by cabinet members after Cllr Alun Lenny, who has the finance portfolio, set out the new regulatory landscape.

This includes the criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates, instead of council tax, altering from April.

Currently, properties available to let for at least 140 days, and that are actually let for at least 70 days, pay rates rather than council tax.

The change will increase these thresholds to being available to let for at least 252 days and actually let for at least 182 days in any 12-month period.

Premium

Carmarthenshire has around 1,060 second homes but only 860 of them are likely to be eligible for a council tax premium.

On empty homes, Cllr Lenny said councils had responsibility and powers to bring them back into use but that it was often more desirable to deal with owners informally.

Carmarthenshire has around 2,310 empty homes, of which 1,310 have been empty for more than a year and therefore would be liable for a new premium.

Neither the second home or the long-term empty home premium would be imposed prior to April 2024.

A member of staff at Clee Tompkinson Francis estate agents, Carmarthen, said he didn’t think the second homes premium would deter buyers of more expensive properties but that it might put off those with a terraced second home worth £150,000, for example.

He said he appreciated local people needed houses to live in, but he said people with second homes had a beneficial impact by spending money in local restaurants and cafes.

“Commercial enterprises need the money” he said, “There would be a knock-on effect if that income was cut.”


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Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett
23 days ago

The royals’ ownership of Llwyn Y Wermod near Myddfai should lead to an annual tax of 100% of the market value in the light of their ownership of many properties.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
23 days ago

Doubling? Why not tripling?

Brian
Brian
22 days ago

The use if council tax to deter second home ownership is a blunt instrument. In my opinion there should be exemptions for people who have full-time jobs within a radius of 20 miles of their ‘second’ homes. Local authorities such as Ceredigion seem to welcome the relocation of problem families from across the UK but seem happy to deter working people with relatively well paid jobs from buying a house to live in during the working week. Much of the social housing in Ceredigion is taken by problem families relocated from other parts of the UK. As a result taking… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
22 days ago
Reply to  Brian

problem families relocated from other parts of the UK.” ..wouldn’t be as big a problem at all if all the others in the queue weren’t left high and dry( or should that be low and damp) in accommodation that doesn’t meet their needs. Of course the other not so hidden costs of those “problem families” are swept under the carpet by those who purport to govern us.

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