Agents criticize politicians for failing…

ARLA Propertymark has slammed politicians who appear to have ignored a public consultation and pushed ahead with draconian changes affecting second homes and vacation rentals.

The Welsh Government has announced an increase in the maximum council tax premium level for second homes, as well as new local tax rules for holiday rentals. The move follows a political agreement between the Labor-led Welsh government and the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party.

The maximum level at which local authorities can set council tax premiums on second homes and long-lived empty properties will be increased to 300%, from April 2023. Councils will be able to set the premium at any what level up to the maximum, and they will be able to apply different premiums to second homes and long-term empty homes.

Premiums are currently set at a maximum level of 100% and have been paid on over 23,000 properties in Wales over the past year. The Welsh Government is urging councils to use premium income to improve the supply of affordable housing.

The criteria for subjecting lodgings to professional rates instead of housing tax will also change from next April.

Currently, properties available to let for at least 140 days, and which are actually rented for at least 70 days, will pay rates rather than council tax. The change will increase these thresholds to be available for hire for at least 252 days and actually rented for at least 182 days in a 12 month period.

A statement from the Welsh Government says the change is intended to demonstrate more clearly that the properties affected are regularly rented out as part of genuine holiday accommodation businesses making a substantial contribution to the local economy.

However, this set of restrictions was strongly criticized by ARLA Propertymark Policy Officer Daryl McIntish.

He says: The Welsh Government’s decision to allow council tax premium on second homes to be increased to a maximum of 300% from April 2023 is somewhat surprising given that 79% of respondents to the consultation felt that the powers had “very little or no effect” in addressing housing issues.

“Only nine municipalities out of 22 have chosen to apply a bonus on second homes during the period 2022-2023, and second homes as a proportion of paying dwellings have only increased by 0.19% over the five years. until 2021.

“Despite lingering questions around the need for such interventions, the Welsh Government is pushing ahead with sweeping changes to local tax systems and planning policy without fully understanding the scale of the problem.”

Penny D. Jackson