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Wales Clamps Down on Second Home Owners

09.03.22

Second home owners in Wales are facing huge council tax hikes under new rules announced this week, reports Abode2.

As part of a move to tackle issues around second homes and unaffordable housing, the Welsh Government has confirmed plans to “take immediate and radical action using the planning, property and taxation systems”.

As of April 2023, local authorities will be able to set council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties at any level up to a maximum of 300%.

Premiums are currently capped at 100% and were paid on more than 23,000 properties in Wales this year. Local authorities opting to apply premiums have access to additional funding, aimed at boosting the supply of affordable housing.

The criteria for self-catering accommodation being liable for business rates instead of council tax will also change from next April.

Currently, properties that are available to let for at least 140 days, and that are actually let for at least 70 days, will pay rates rather than council tax; these thresholds will increase to 252 days and 182 days respectively in any 12-month period.

The change, according to officials, is intended to “provide a clearer demonstration that the properties concerned are being let regularly as part of genuine holiday accommodation businesses making a substantial contribution to the local economy”.

Businesses, the tourism industry and local communities were all involved in the consultation process. The government announced a three-pronged approach to address what it called the “second homes crisis” last summer.

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government: “These changes will give more flexibility to local authorities and provide more support to local communities in addressing the negative impacts that second homes and long-term empty properties can have. They are some of the levers we have available to us as we seek to create a fairer system.”

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