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No blanket licensing required for short lets - Propertymark

Licensing for Airbnbs and similar short lets should be targeted in priority areas only and not the subject of blanket rules.

That’s the view of Propertymark, the letting agents’ trade body, which has responded to an official consultation by the Welsh Government on introducing a statutory licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation. 

In July last year the Welsh Government made an in-principle plan 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 the government claims would help raise standards across the industry, ensure visitor safety and provide a level playing field for all operators.


In its formal response to the consultation Propertymark says it acknowledges the impact of high levels of second homes and holiday lets on overall housing stock, as well as its positive impact on the economy. 

It adds: “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.” 

The consultation proposed that inspections are carried out on a 1:50 ratio but Propertymark concluded that this showed the Welsh Government simply wouldn’t 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.”

The agents’ trade body has also 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” adds Propertymark.


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