'Wales’ second home policy made us consider selling family home to investors from the Middle East'

  • Dot Davies reports

A woman who was born and raised in Pembrokeshire says she’s had to consider selling a house that’s been in her family for half a century to foreign investors because of the Welsh Government’s second home policy. 

Anna Raymond and her two sisters are keeping a family tradition by running the Pantyderi Manor in Boncath as a self-catering holiday let, but Anna fears that the government’s rules are threatening the future of the much-loved house she inherited from her grandparents. 

From April 2023 holiday-let owners who want to qualify for business rates instead of council tax must fill the property for 182-days. The threshold used to be 70.

If Anna fails to reach the 182-day threshold, she will fail to qualify for business tax, and as Pantyderi is her second property, it, therefore, qualifies for the council tax premium. 

From 2023, Welsh councils have the power to introduce a council tax premium of up to 300% for second homes and empty homes. Pembrokeshire council recently voted to increase the premium to 200% from April. If Anna isn’t able to fill Pantyderi for 182 days a year, she could face a council tax bill of around £12,000.


Speaking to S4C’s current affairs programme Y Byd ar Bedwar Anna says that the policy is “unfair”. 

"The 182-day threshold is very high, it's a lot - I would like someone to be here every day of the year. We work hard, but realistically, we are in the middle of the countryside, it would be harder for us to get the 182 days.

"I don’t know where they get the figure of 182 but it is much too high, so before it was 70, so they more than doubled that figure and more… It is not fair.”

From April 2023, local authorities throughout Wales can charge a council tax premium of up to 300% for empty and second homes.  Credit: Y Byd ar Bedwar

Pantyderi Manor has 10 rooms that sleeps 21 guests, and Anna’s late grandparents ran the Manor as a Bed and Breakfast. 

Anna and her family have no plans to sell Pantyderi Manor,  but a recent offer from an Iranian investor who offered millions for the house made her think twice about the future. 

"They wouldn't care how many nights they were here," said Anna.

Anna is determined to keep Pantyderi in the family but fears that other owners of historical Welsh homes may have to take offers from buyers outside Wales. 

Although the policy is intended to create a fair housing market, Anna says that many of the second homes that are run as self-catering accommodation are too expensive for local people.

Ben Lake has represented Plaid Cymru in Westminster since 2017, and is calling on the Welsh Government to relax the second home policy Credit: Y Byd ar Bedwar

Tackling second homes was one of the main issues of the Collaboration Plan between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru in 2021. However, speaking on Y Byd ar Bedwar, Plaid Cymru MP, Ben Lake criticised the 182-day rule. 

‘Evidence and real experience’ 

"I want to see the Government look at the evidence and real experience."

Mr Lake, who has represented Plaid Cymru in Westminster since 2017, said he was not against setting a threshold, but that it must be one that is fair to businesses.

He said that we must "ensure that we don't see real businesses having to close and very often, family businesses that have been running for decades, have to give up because they can't reach that threshold. "

Mr Lake said that the Welsh Government's intention is a valid one but that more flexibility needs to be introduced which differentiates between people who "take advantage of the system, and real businesses.

"It is only right that those who use them as a second home pay the tax. I believe there is an important difference between the businesses that have diversified and those who have then bought residential houses in towns and villages for the sole reason of making quick money.” 

In a consultation in 2021, the Welsh Government asked the public what the new threshold should be. Of the 900 respondents, 9 had suggested 182 days or six months of the year.

According to the Welsh Government, the threshold reflects their policy that self-catering accommodation should be operating as businesses for at least half the year to qualify for business taxes.

‘Fair housing market’ 

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The changes to the local tax rules for self-catering accommodation and second homes are designed to help develop a fairer housing market and ensure property owners make a fair contribution to the communities where they own homes or run businesses. 

 “We believe that everybody has a right to a decent, affordable home to buy or to rent in their own communities so they can live and work locally.

 “We are taking radical action using the planning, property and taxation systems to achieve this, as part of a joined-up package of solutions to a complex set of issues.”

Y Byd ar Bedwar: Monday night at 20:00 on S4C, S4C/Clic and BBC iPlayer.

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