Carmarthenshire County Council is consulting with its residents on the review of the Council Tax Premium Scheme for long-term empty properties and second homes.
Concerns have been raised at both a local and National level about the perceived impact of growing numbers of second homes and empty properties on our communities.
The Council is working to increase the provision of affordable housing in Carmarthenshire and is proposing a Council Tax Provision on properties that are largely empty, to bring long-term empty homes back into use and provide safe, secure and affordable homes that will enhance the sustainability of local communities.
Approximately 1,300 properties in Carmarthenshire are classed as long-term empty properties whilst there are around 860 registered second homes in the county. This equates to 2.5% of all domestic properties in Carmarthenshire being potentially liable for the premium charge.
Welsh Government research in 2021 indicates that second homes can raise the demand for houses and consequently increase local property prices. Alongside house price inflation, the clearest direct impact of second homes was to reduce the housing stock.
The Welsh Government announced a three-pronged approach to address a “second homes crisis”. The approach reasons that it has fairness at its heart, to ensure that everyone in Wales can have access to good quality, affordable housing.
The three-pronged approach focuses on:
- support – addressing affordability and availability of housing,
- regulatory framework and system – covering planning law and the introduction of a statutory registration scheme for holiday accommodation;
- a fairer contribution – using national and local taxation systems to ensure second home owners make a fair and effective contribution to the communities in which they buy.
The Welsh Government has devolved discretionary powers to local authorities to charge, or vary, a council tax premium of up to 300% above the standard rate of council tax on certain classes of second homes and long-term empty properties.
At present, the Council do not apply a council tax premium scheme; second homes and long–term empty properties are currently charged at the standard council tax rate.
Currently, 11 local authorities in Wales, apply a premium scheme with the level of the premium set by each authority varying from 25% to 100%.
Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Alun Lenny said: “We want to make our communities a fairer place to live for our residents and particularly our young people. In order to achieve this we need to provide more affordable houses within our communities to keep our young people living and working in Carmarthenshire and this is why we are proposing to introduce a Council Tax Premium on long-term empty properties and second homes in our county.
“We must ensure fairness for all interests and are now consulting on this to hear people’s opinion on our latest approach to bring long-term empty homes back into use.”
“By addressing the issue of empty homes in Carmarthenshire, we can help address housing problems through the provision of additional accommodation. This will reduce pressures on housing waiting lists and provide homes on both a short and long-term basis.
“To address the impact that second homes has on our housing stock, the Council Tax Premium will allow owners of second home properties to make a fairer contribution to the local community, through an additional revenue stream to support council services, from which they benefit.
“We also hope that this will also act as an incentive to bring dwellings that are occasionally used, or are disused but standing furnished, into use as a normal place of residence, whilst excluding properties that are unsuitable for year-round occupancy.”
The Council Tax Premium on Second Homes and Empty Properties consultation opened on January 17 and allows people to have a say on the Council’s proposals.
People can share their views online www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations or by visiting a council customer service Hwb in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford town centres
The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday, 17 February 2023.