Through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the UK Government proposes to:
- Reduce the time before a property is considered an empty home from two years to one year, meaning that homes that have been empty for one year will be subject to a 100% council tax premium.
- Introduce a council tax premium of 100% for substantially furnished homes but not someone’s sole or main residence.
Alternative solutions must be explored
Propertymark supports action to return long-term empty homes to the market, however, we are concerned that council tax premiums may hurt homeowners who want to bring a property back into use but are currently unable to do so. We have called for the following action to be taken:
- Only apply council tax premiums where there is no reasonable excuse why the property cannot be brought back into the market
- For those who cannot bring the property back to the market, provide funding to help homeowners bring empty properties back into use
- Ensure that the premium on second homes can be targeted where it can be shown that the number of second homes is having a negative impact on the supply of long-term housing
In response to similar consultations in Scotland and Wales, we have called for alternative solutions to be explored.
Responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the increasing council tax premiums for second and empty homes, Propertymark’s members are strongly against this approach, especially for second homes, and it is recommended homeowners should be incentivised to bring empty homes back into use.
From 1 April 2023 local authorities in Wales can increase council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties by 300 per cent.