Propertymark has set up a working group of experts, agents, landlords and stakeholders in response to radical reforms to the private rental sector by the Welsh Government.
The group aims to give the industry’s views to Welsh climate change and housing minister, Julie James, who is steering through radical changes later this year.
The measures include an increase in the notice landlords must give when issuing evictions and protection for tenants from evictions for a minimum of 12 months after signing a contract. And under the new rules all landlords will be required to provide a written copy of the occupation contract to the tenant, setting out the rights and responsibilities of both parties; there will be a strengthened duty on landlords to ensure the property is fit for human habitation, including the installation of smoke alarms and regular electrical safety testing; and the introduction of a consistent approach to eviction where antisocial behaviour and domestic violence occurs.
And in the holiday lets sector, the Welsh Government is looking to control the number of second homes and holiday lets through planning measures - three categories of housing will include a primary home, a second home and short-term holiday accommodation. Local planning authorities would be able to amend the planning system to require planning permission for change of use from one class to another.
There will also be a licensing system for Airbnb and other short let platform landlords, and possibly higher purchase tax on additional homes, too.
Daryl McIntosh, policy manager at Propertymark, says: “Our conversations with the Welsh Government have been welcomed and it is good to see that they are willing to work with the sector in order to ensure that future policy is fit for purpose for all those involved.
“The Welsh Government has largely focussed on planning policy and local taxes as levers to change behaviour in the private rented sector, however, these do not directly deal with the barriers and disincentives to investment in the private rented sector.
“Our working group will now look to develop clear, targeted proposals on what action is necessary to ensure that policy both supports and incentivises investment to then be tested through the pilot scheme.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford comments: “We have a shared ambition for Wales to be a nation of thriving communities – a country where people do not have to leave to find good and rewarding work and a country which people want to come to visit and to live.
“Tourism is vital to our economy but having too many holiday properties and second homes, which are empty for much of the year, does not make for healthy local communities and prices people out of the local housing market.
“There is no single, simple solution to these issues. Any action we take must be fair. We do not want to create any unintended consequences, which could destabilise the wider housing market or make it harder for people to rent or buy.”