Councils could be given power to tax empty homes
Richard Johnstone in Birmingham | 21 September 2011
authorities could be given the power to charge an additional tax on owners of
homes that have been empty for more than two years, a Liberal Democrat minister
minister Andrew Stunell told the party conference in Birmingham yesterday that
the Department for Communities and Local Government will consult on giving
councils the power to levy an empty homes premium on council tax.
said he policy would be a ‘nudge
to owners to bring abandoned homes back into use’ and be ‘an extra weapon in a
council’s armoury in the battle to make better use of our housing stock’.
told delegates that ‘it’s a crime‘ that more than 300,000 homes have been empty
for more than six months, and said the potential charge could form part of the
first ever government strategy on empty homes. This will be launched ‘in the
plan is in addition to the £100m programme announced last October to provide
cash to councils, housing associations and other providers to begin the revamp
of empty properties.
said that the plans would be ‘discretionary’ and ‘localist’, and would have
‘essential safeguards and exemptions’.
added: ‘The premium will act as a spur for landlords to bring their properties
back into use quickly. And where they don’t, it will provide an extra revenue
stream for local authorities to plough back into bringing more homes back into
told the conference that the coalition government had ‘inherited a housing
crisis’, calling previous governments’ record on building new social housing
‘nothing short of a disgrace’.
also announced that the government would exceed its plans to build around
150,000 new social homes for rent over the next four years by 20,000.