Council Tax cost of empty homes could rocket

Council Tax bills for those owning empty residential property could go up by four times the original cost.

The bill for an empty home can already be 200 per cent of the annual band amount from next month.

From April next year the bill could rise to 300 per cent and increase further to 400 per cent in 2021.

The hike in price is designed to reduce the number of empty homes around the country.

As a result of the increases, South Holland District Council could raise around £6,000 a year.

“The main benefits are non-financial and are to encourage homes back into use,” says a report before members of the Policy Development Panel.

Since April 2013, local authorities have had the ability to apply a 50 per cent discretionary increase to Council Tax bills on homes which have been empty for two years or more.

“The council tax team have an empty homes review programme of activity which includes canvassing, pro-active work to follow up and increased targeted visits and inspections,” says the report.

The council also has a number of options open to it by way of enforcement if the owner is unwilling to see the property returned to use.

It can instigate a Compulsory Purchase Order, which means it will buy the property without the owner’s consent.

There is also an Enforced Sale where the council can force the owner to sell if a range of criteria have been met. The local authority can also take over the management of an empty dwelling for up to seven years.

“There is a positive link between increasing the supply of housing, along with investing into the condition of private housing in the district and the broader health and wellbeing agenda,” the report adds.

Members of the panel are recommended to note the progress made on addressing long term empty homes.

Leave a Reply