Want to buy a house in Wales? You may need to speak the language

Landlords in Welsh-speaking communities may have to prove they speak the language before being able to buy property, as part of the proposed ‘Fair Chance’ scheme.

The scheme is intended to curb the number of second home buyers in the country, in a bid to free up more affordable housing for locals.

If the plans go ahead sellers would have to offer properties to locals for a set period before making them available on the open market.

Second homes make up almost 40% of homes in Wales, while there are concerns about more people are buying second homes in Wales thanks to Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Welsh government Language Minister Jeremy Miles told Radio Cymru’s Dros Frecwast programme: “Through our Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, and the Commission for Welsh-speaking Communities we’re announcing today, we and our partners will work together with communities where Welsh is the main language and help them develop plans which protect their identity and our language.”

The government said it would work with estate agents to help people buy in the local area, while there will also be support for social enterprises and community housing operatives.

However Janet Finch-Saunders, who speaks for the Welsh Conservatives on housing, said the approach “appears to be promoting discrimination against house buyers who do not speak Welsh”.

She added: “This is, of course, completely unacceptable. Immediate clarification on this policy is needed from the Labour government.”

The Welsh government will give councils the option of charging a second home premium of up to 300% from April 2023.

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