Compulsory registration will enable short-term lets to demonstrate quality
First step to raising standards
The initial aim of the scheme is to establish a register of accommodation and enable providers to demonstrate compliance with safety and quality requirements, enhancing visitor experience and safety expectations.
The register will cover the broad range of visitor accommodation available across the country – including Airbnbs and other short lets, as well as more traditional bed and breakfast businesses – and will include details on who is operating the premises, the location, and if they are fulfilling safety requirements.
Once a registration scheme is fully established, the Welsh Government intends to follow it with a licensing scheme for all visitor accommodation. This will focus on confirming compliance with existing safety requirements before looking at introducing quality standards at a later stage.
The position in other UK nations
The longest-standing registration scheme is in Northern Ireland, where the Tourism (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 stipulates that all tourist or visitor accommodation providers must receive certification from Tourism NI before they are allowed to begin operating.
In Scotland, the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) (Amendment) Order 2023 introduced a requirement for providers to have certain standards in place, including a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), gas and electrical safety certificates and adhere to maximum numbers of occupants.
Propertymark representing members
Evidence from a survey of our members demonstrated growing concern amongst property agents about the impact of short-term lets on the supply of long-term housing options.
Therefore, we support the introduction of licensing or registration schemes which balance the economic interests and identity of a local area with the need to ensure that an abundance of visitor accommodation does not lead to a lack of permanent homes. An effective scheme should also ensure better regulation and more effective health and safety requirements are in place, raising the standard of holiday lets to meet the private rented sector (PRS).
We also hope that licensing will help to address the imbalance of investment where for some time short-term lets have been seen as the more lucrative option to the detriment of the PRS.