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Council tax could quadruple on long-term empty homes in Broadland

PUBLISHED: 14:37 04 February 2019

Broadland District Council could introduce higher empty property premiums to bring homes back into use. View of Horsford village. 

Picture: James Bass

Broadland District Council could introduce higher empty property premiums to bring homes back into use. View of Horsford village. Picture: James Bass

Eastern Daily Press © 2003

Council tax on Broadland homes which have been lying dormant for more than a decade could quadruple in a bid to bring houses back into use.

Proposals have been submitted for approval to Broadland District Council’s cabinet committee to increase council tax on long-term empty homes in accordance with new laws which give authorities greater tax raising powers.

Recommendations have been put forward to the committee, ahead of its meeting on Tuesday, February 12, to increase the premium from 50pc to 100pc from April 1 this year for homes which have been empty for more than two years.

From April 1, 2020, this will increase to 200pc for homes left empty for five years and to 300pc by April 2021 for homes left empty for 10 years or more.

This would mean a homeowner of a band D property which has been vacant for more than a decade will currently pay £2,625 per year, but this will increase to £7,000 from April 2021.

At the time when the premium was first introduced in 2013, there were approximately 175 properties in Broadland which had been empty for more than two years. The increase in council tax has led to that number falling to around 100.

The cabinet report states the intention of the increases is to drive down the number of long-term empty homes, of which currently there are 62 that have been vacant for more than two years, 25 between five and 10 years and 13 for more than 10 years.

It continues: “Members could choose to increase the premium to a level below the maximum permitted within the legislation.

“However, from experience such a course of action inevitably tends to lead to an increase to the maximum level at a future date.”

But the new premium does not affect second homeowners and the 100pc charge will continue for those properties.

There are also exemptions for owners who have gone into residential care or have died.

Members of the armed forces who are required to live in Ministry of Defence accommodation for their employment are also exempt from paying the premium on homes they leave empty as a result.

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