Restrict licensing to priority areas only

Recognising the fact that some members in Wales operate for landlords of short-term holiday lets, Propertymark has responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation to establish a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation in Wales.

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The Welsh Government has a clear ambition to establish a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation. In July 2022, the First Minister and the Leader of Plaid Cymru announced plans to introduce a statutory licensing system, including short-term holiday lets. The proposal is to make it a requirement for providers to obtain a licence to operate, which they believe would help raise standards across the industry, ensure visitor safety and provide a level playing field for all operators.

Targeting resources

Propertymark previously responded to several Welsh Government consultations on increasing regulation of short-term holiday lets, including measures such as Council Tax premiums and a visitor’s levy. We acknowledged the impact of high levels of second homes and holiday lets have on overall housing stock in terms of housing options, the impact on the economy and the Welsh language. However, any proposals must be fair and recognise the role that all visitor accommodation including holiday lets plays in supporting local economies and jobs. 

We disagreed that the Welsh Government should implement a national licensing scheme at this stage and recommended that local authorities could implement local licensing and registration schemes at their discretion. At the very least, this local proposal should act as a pilot before a national scheme is implemented. Holiday lets are only an issue in some local authority areas with high levels of tourism. It is right and proper to regulate this accommodation in these areas where they are reducing the supply of homes. 

Questions over enforcement 

The consultation proposed that inspections are carried out on a 1:50 ratio using a risk-based approach and additional inspections in response to customer complaints or other concerns brought to the attention of the licensing authority. We felt this was evidence enough that the Welsh Government simply will not have the resources to police inspections. Equally, we recommended that one-off events should be exempt due to the lack of ability to carry out enforcement and that the cost of licences should depend on the number of visitors the accommodation serves to level the playing field between landlords letting out a holiday home and large multi-national hotels.  

Impact on the private rented sector

Once again, Propertymark has called for a definitive definition of visitor accommodation to ensure that the private rented sector does not get drawn into the legislation. We also warned that a few private residential landlords let their properties on a short-term basis to ensure they do not become void. Therefore, any work on licensing of visitor accommodation should work in tandem with the Rent Smart Wales licensing regime for residential lettings and landlords should not require an additional license if they are already holders of a Rent Smart Wales Licence. 

Download the full consultation response