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New powers for local authorities to address impact of second and empty homes come into force

Welsh communities will be better supported to address high levels of second home ownership and empty properties as new local tax rules come into force today (1 April 2023).

It marks another milestone in the implementation of a series of measures being introduced as part of the Welsh Government’s Co-operation Agreement commitment with Plaid Cymru to address the impact of second homes and empty homes on communities across the nation.

The rules have become operational following national and local consultations, meaning that local authorities are now able to put their strengthened levers into practical effect.

Measures are part of efforts to ensure everyone has the chance to live in their local community and to improve the availability and affordability of housing to rent and to buy for those on local incomes.

Local authorities are now able to set and collect council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties at up to 300% – up from 100% – with councils able to decide levels based on their local needs. 

Five councils have increased the premium charged for second homes in 2023-24, with another seven set to introduce one from April 2024.

Three councils have increased the long-term empty property premium in 2023-24, with another four introducing one for the first time, and another two planning to introduce one in April 2024.

The criteria for holiday lets being liable for non-domestic rates instead of council tax have also been strengthened, with the intention of providing a clearer demonstration that properties are being let regularly as part of genuine holiday accommodation businesses making a substantial contribution to the local economy.

To accompany this change revised statutory guidance has been issued to local authorities, and a commitment to introduce further exceptions to the regulations in the Senedd fulfilled.

For further information please select the following link New powers for local authorities to address impact of second and empty homes come into force | GOV.WALES