October 23rd, 2013 |
Empty Properties And The Council Tax
There were a few interesting items at last night’s Full District Council Meeting.
One of them was about the reductions in Council Tax that apply if properties are left empty.
The government has given councils the freedom to reduce these rebates – so that people concerned have to pay more. This means that councils get more money, and more homes are occupied (which to an extent reduces the need to build new homes). From next April there will be the following changes in Rochford District:
- Second Homes will no longer get a 10% discount – the full amount will have to be paid instead
- Vacant properties in need of urgent repair currently get a full 100% discount for the first 12 months – this will be reduced to 50% for 12 months.
- Empty and unfurnished properties currently have a a full 100 % discount for up to 6 months. This is being reduced to a 100% discount for only one month. This discount will now only apply immediately following a period when the property was occupied for a minimum of 6 weeks. It will also be restricted to a maximum of two awards in any one financial year.
- Properties that are empty and “substantially unfurnished” for two years or more will now get an extra 50% “premium charge” on top of the normal 100% council tax amount.
These changes could lead to the district council getting around £195,000 extra council tax per year. Though in reality it is likely to be lower than this because property owners may change their behaviour.
It would be interesting to know if Southend Borough Council are doing the same thing – because as Julian Ware Lane pointed out here there are certainly plenty of empty properties in Southend.