Council tax measures for empty homes must be proportionate

Despite push back from the industry in Wales and Scotland, the UK Government continues to progress their proposals to introduce and increase council tax premiums on second and empty homes in England. In our response to the consultation, Propertymark presented a range of exemptions that we urge decision-makers to consider.

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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.

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25 Jul 2023
Raising council tax premiums for empty homes would be ineffective

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.

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04 Mar 2022
New legislation to increase council tax premiums on second homes

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.

Governments across the UK continue to see council tax premiums as the solution to reducing the number of empty homes. While we agree that action must be taken, so far evidence suggests that premiums have proven to be ineffective at reducing the number of empty properties, at least without additional policies in place to help bring empty homes back on to the market. We urge the UK Government to consider our range of exemptions to reduce the severity of unintended consequences that charging additional council tax premiums will have.
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Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark
Download the full consultation response