Decision details

Empty Homes Council Tax Premium

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decisions:

Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Senior Revenues Assistant presented this report which asked Members to consider maximising the Council Tax premium for empty homes from April 2022, in line with legislation that came in in 2020 with an aim of getting empty properties back into use.

 

Members (and one non-Committee Member) then took part in a full debate on the item where a number of points were raised including:

·         the benefits to residents rather than the Council as this was an incentive to get houses back into use

·         questions around the logistics of policing the policy and how the Council knows about empty properties in the District

·         specific types of property (retirement, for example) which could be difficult to sell but have restrictive criteria on purchasers

·         which constituted ‘furnished’ in real and legislative terms

·         whether other mechanisms, apart from homeowners applying for discounts, could be used for reporting empty homes, for example reporting by neighbours or whether utilities are connected

·         not wanting to penalise those who have inherited a house but at the time having a finite cut-off that triggers them to act

·         the importance of information in identifying opportunities to make houses available

·         the leniency around exceptions and the importance of promoting the services the Council provides

·         the shortness of timescales, particularly for houses vacant for a longer period of time that may require substantial work before being made available again

·         the need to communicate effectively given the scale of the impact it could have on residents

 

The recommendations were then proposed and seconded.

 

The Committee

 

RECOMMEND TO FULL COUNCIL - That

 

1.    An increase to the premium on long term empty properties be approved as follows:

        100% premium from 1 April 2022 for those properties which are empty for 2 years and over

        200% premium from 1 April 2022 for those properties which are empty for 5 years and over

        300% premium from 1 April 2022 for those properties which are empty for 10 years and over

 

2.    The Head of Residential Services be given delegated authority in exceptional circumstances to waive any premium on a case by case basis.

Report author: Andrew Dale

Publication date: 12/10/2021

Date of decision: 30/09/2021

Decided at meeting: 30/09/2021 - Residential and Wellbeing Services Committee

Accompanying Documents: