All short-term rental properties in Wales may soon have to be registered and licensed.
The Welsh government plans to set up a register of all visitor accommodation in the country. To start with, this would include details of who is operating accommodation, where it is, and the type of property. It would also cover all types of visitor accommodation, including hotel rooms and B&Bs as well as self-contained short-term rental properties.
But politicians don’t intend to stop there. Once the register is in place, the Senedd wants to introduce a licensing scheme with mandatory safety standards.
According to Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, the objective is to bring the standards for short-term lets into line with those used in the regular private rented sector.
Landlords have been switching to short-term lets in pursuit of higher returns and less strict regulations. It remains to be seen if tightening up short-term let rules will encourage landlords to invest in longer-term rentals again or get out of property investment completely.
What next for short-term rentals in Wales?
As part of the Welsh government’s Co-operation Agreement with the Plaid Cymru party, they are also committed to “address the negative impact second homes and short-term holiday lets can have on the availability and affordability of housing for local people in communities”.
The government has already published a survey on the impact of tourism in Wales, in which 59% of respondents said that they had “some” or “a lot of” tourism in their area. While those surveyed agreed that tourism was good for local economies, they also reported increased difficulties in finding affordable housing, parking, as well as experiencing excess litter.
The plans for a new register are part of a trend towards tougher short-term rental rules. In 2022, the Welsh government increased the number of days per year that second homes would have to be let out as holiday lets to be exempt from council tax.
Local authorities were also given new powers to set higher council tax premiums on second homes and to require planning permission to change houses into holiday lets or second homes. So far, no local authority has brought in planning permission for second homes, but Gwynedd – home to around 20% of all holiday homes in Wales – is considering it.
Other Welsh housing headlines
Wales safeguards social housebuilding budget – Inside Housing
House prices fall by 1.9% in Wales – Nation.Cymru