United Kingdom

Wales hikes second-home taxes

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The Welsh government is tripling the Council Tax premium that local authorities can charge to second-home owners.

From April 2023, they will be able to impose up to a 300% premium on second homes and long-term empty properties.

The Senedd is also tightening up the rules under which second-home owners can qualify to pay business rates instead of Council Tax. Currently, a property must be available to rent for 140 days in a year and actually let out for 70. From 2023, those minimum periods will go up to 252 and 182 days respectively.

Property professionals warned that the change could do more harm than good. A spokesman for ARLA said that the tax hike would have only a tiny effect on Wales’s housing shortage. Meanwhile, holiday let owners warn that increased taxes could “decimate their sector”.

Just because unitary authorities can set massive premiums doesn’t mean they will. In the 2022/23 tax year, just three – Swansea, Gwynedd and Pembrokeshire – will charge the current maximum of 100%. Thirteen others will not impose any tax premium at all on second homes.

But the idea of second-home premiums is gathering momentum across the UK. In Cornwall, another holiday home hotspot, activists are calling on local authorities to follow the Welsh lead. Local Labour politicians have set up a campaign calling for increased Council Tax on second homes, licensing for second homes and holiday rentals, and additional community levies to support local shops, pubs and post offices.

Other holiday let headlines

Buy to Let winning out over holiday lets, says agency – Letting Agent Today

The Welsh village hollowed out by second homes – The Guardian

10 weird and wonderful Airbnbs in the UK – In Your Area

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