New Welsh Government consultation announced on draft Regulations to extend exceptions to second home premiums
Following a request by WTA; PASC and UKH for exemptions to the Premium rate the response is a 'technical' consultation on an exemption which is more or less already in place. Cold comfort. The Welsh Government has said they 'recognise the strength of feeling among self-catering operators in response to the changes and have listened to the representations from individual businesses and industry representative bodies'. Well recognising is one thing, actually taking into account the strength of feeling and evidence presented is another of course?
Anyway, the Welsh Government recognises that some self-catering properties are restricted by planning conditions preventing permanent occupation as someone’s main residence. The Council Tax (Exceptions to Higher Amounts) (Wales) Regulations 2015 provide for an exception from a council tax premium for properties restricted by a planning condition preventing occupation for a continuous period of at least 28 days in any one-year period. So we now have 'a technical' consultation to invite views on the draft Council Tax (Exceptions to Higher Amounts) (Wales) Regulations 2023.
The draft Regulations extend the existing exception to apply to properties with a planning condition which specifies that the property may only be used for short term holiday lets or which prevents their permanent occupation as a person’s sole or main residence. Not what it seems this consultation, it is simply a clarification and possible extension to an already existing exemption. So whilst we will ask for further exemptions as this is a 'technical' consultation in reality an exclusion zone has been drawn. We need seven rules to play the game, but the ref is only going to allow you to discuss one.
Anyway, please also remember that even if you have an exemption this still means you will become liable for council tax at the standard rate if you do not meet the letting criteria for classification as a non-domestic property. The application date for introducing the extended exceptions will still be 1 April 2023. Note the statement and the driver, 'as part of the Cooperation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, we are committed to taking immediate action to address the impact of second homes and unaffordable housing in communities across Wales, using the planning, property and taxation systems'. Mmm.