Welsh ministers eye further clampdown on second homes
Wales housing minister Julie James is stepping up efforts to curb second homeownership which the government said was having a negative impact on some local communities.
A clampdown on registering homes as holiday lets to avoid a council tax premium is underway.
In partnership with the Valuation Office Agency, the government wants to assess how often holiday lets are appraised to establish what rates they should be paying and how this can be monitored more closely.
The government is also considering the introduction of a statutory registration scheme for all holiday accommodation and will monitor the roll out of a similar scheme in Scotland.
Wales already has a tougher measures to deter second homeownership than England.
Unlike England, Wales did not extend its stamp duty holiday to second home transactions. Although the three per cent additional homes levy still applies in England, buyers there can enjoy a saving of up to £15,000 on the regular stamp duty bill they would normally face until 31 March.
Local authorities in Wales were given the power to levy a council tax premium on second homeowners in April 2017.
Eight councils currently exercise the right to charge the premium, which can be 100 per cent of the standard council tax rate, with another set of councils to join them from April.
Despite this, the number of chargeable second homes under council tax rules, has steadily risen from 22,868 in 2017/18 to 24,423 in 20/21 according to StatsWales.
Gwynedd has the most second homes with 4,900 followed by Pembrokeshire which has 4,072 and Cardiff which has 3,188.
Growing concern of second homes
In a statement, James wrote: “This government is clear that everyone should have a decent home, an aim that has been brought into sharp focus during the pandemic.
“Our long-standing commitment to increasing the supply of affordable homes has been matched by our record investment and reflected in the 20,000 affordable homes that will have been built this term.
“We are, however, acutely aware of growing concern in some parts of Wales about the impact of second homes on communities, access to housing and affordability and the impact this has on the Welsh language. While not a pan-Wales issue, it is one that is affecting communities and provokes strong feeling at local or hyper-local levels.”
Claims that owners are flouting the rules and registering their properties as holiday lets to get around additional council tax charges have so far proved to be unfounded according to the government.
Local authorities have been invited to point out any cases where they think properties do not meet the required legal criteria to be classed as a holiday let so they can be investigated again.
The government has formed a cross party group to find more ways of deterring second homeownership and said it has not ruled out making legislative changes.