Opportunity to boost Welsh housing supply and decarbonise stock

The Welsh Government’s proposal to provide discretionary powers for local authorities to apply a visitor levy in Wales should see any revenue raised ringfenced to tackle any housing problems within the local authority area. This could also solve the chronic lack of housing options for vulnerable people and working families.

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Propertymark responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation, arguing that revenue raised, where a visitor staying overnight in accommodation would be charged a levy, could be used to boost the supply of privately rented accommodation by providing incentives for landlords to invest in new homes.  

The longevity of private tenancies could also be secured by further investment in topping up local authorities' Discretionary Housing Payments, used to support contract holders in areas. 

Alternatively, we argue, revenue could be ringfenced to decarbonise Welsh homes in both the owner-occupied and private rented sector (PRS) with some parts of Wales having the dual problem of some of the most fuel-inefficient properties in the UK against low overall property values. 

Exemptions from the levy

We strongly argued that there should be an exemption to any levy put on persons using visitor accommodation to alleviate homelessness. Further examples of possible exemptions for landlords operating in the PRS were also given. Some landlords let on a short-term basis to fill void periods, while this will be restricted due to the Renting Homes Act, it remains an option for some landlords. Propertymark also asked for clarity of when there is more than one use of a property, for example, residential use and short-term use in blocks of flats or outbuildings. 

Any proposal for licensing visitor accommodation must consider existing policy work around council tax premiums and existing licensing schemes for the PRS through Rent Smart Wales. 

Fundamentally, if the Welsh Government introduces the levy, then they must adopt a definitive list of properties that will be liable to the levy. They also must engage with property agents so they can advise their clients on the implications of investing in Welsh property.