Real Estate

Wales launches holiday let licensing scheme

Landlords with holiday lets in Wales will have to join a register saying where and how they are operating, under plans unveiled this week.

Legislation is expected to be introduced to the Senedd (Welsh parliament) before the end of the year.

The plan is to eventually have a licensing scheme for all types of visitor accommodation, initially focusing on compliance with safety requirements.

After that the vision is to improve the standards of accommodation.

The scheme was unveiled deputy minister for arts, sport and tourism, Dawn Bowden.

Bowden said: “Tourism makes an important contribution to the Welsh economy and to Welsh life so this information will be crucial in helping us better understand the sector, as well as helping to inform future policy decisions at a local and national level.

“The visitor economy is changing rapidly, and while the growth of online booking platforms has brought many benefits, there are concerns around compliance with existing requirements and the impact of short-term lets on housing stock and our communities.

“I’d like to thank businesses across the visitor economy for the enormous resilience they’ve shown through the unprecedented challenges of recent years. The input from the sector, visitors and communities has been invaluable to our work so far. We will continue this engagement as we develop the scheme.”

The announcement followed a public consultation, engagement with the sector, as well as a recently published survey that found 89% of visitors considered accommodation safety to be important.

Andy Fenner, chief executive of the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), said: “The Welsh government has swooped in ahead of its counterpart in Westminster to deliver a registration scheme worthy of the name. The most important aspect of the Welsh plan is that all visitor accommodation will be required by law to register, not just holiday lets.

“For the first time in Welsh history, policymakers, officials and residents will have a clear picture of how big the hospitality sector is in each area, how it is constituted, and how big an economic contribution each type of provider is likely making.

“Moves to restrict any part of the tourist accommodation sector will, in future, be based on hard facts, not rumour and innuendo, giving decisions a proper basis. This is a really positive step forward for tourism in Wales and one that we hope is replicated in England, which will be the last region of the UK to see a registration scheme introduced.”

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