Proposed changes to council tax on empty properties

Published Tuesday, 30 July 2019

RESIDENTS in Hinckley & Bosworth are being urged to have their say on some proposed changes to council tax charges for owners of empty properties.

The Borough Council is looking to remove some existing discounts and charge additional council tax to owners of empty properties, particularly those that have been empty for some years, in a bid to discourage owners from leaving properties empty and to bring more homes back into use.

From 1 April 2020, the Borough Council is proposing a 100% council tax premium on properties that have been empty for longer than two years. Effectively this will mean the owner of any property that has been empty for two years or longer will be charged double council tax on that property.

From April 2021, the council is proposing to extend this by charging a 200% council tax premium on properties that have been empty for longer than five years and from April 2022, the council is proposing to extend this again by charging a 300% council tax premium on properties that have been empty for longer than 10 years. 

Effectively this will mean from April 2021, the owner of any property that has been empty for five years or longer will be charged three times the council tax on that property rising from April 2022 to four times the council tax on any property that has been empty for 10 years or longer.

The council is also proposing to remove the 50% council tax discount it currently offers to owners of properties that are undergoing major structural repairs. This could mean owners of properties undergoing major structural repairs pay the full council tax for that property from April 2020.

Finally the council is proposing to remove the free council tax period on empty properties, meaning that the owner of an empty property must pay council tax on that property from April 2020.

Executive Member for Finance at the Borough Council, Councillor Keith Lynch said:

At a time when we are told that there is a shortage of housing we are concerned that too many houses are just standing empty, some for many years, when they should be occupied. By encouraging the owners of empty homes to keep properties occupied, not only will it help people who desperately need a home but it can also benefit the community as a whole. Empty properties can have a depressive effect on neighbouring house prices and also reduce pride in the community, as well as having a direct impact on adjoining homes through dampness and structural problems.

However, we would like to hear the views of residents on these proposals so I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say before a decision is made later this year.

Complete the survey: have your say on changes to council tax on empty properties

The survey is open until Monday 26 August. A decision on whether to adopt the proposals will be made by Council during the autumn with any changes coming into effect from April 2020.