Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Issue - meetings

Council Tax Premium on long-term empty homes

Meeting: 11/12/2017 - Council (Item 14)

14 Council Tax Premium on Empty Properties pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report and reminded Members that councils had discretionary powers to set the level of council tax discount on empty properties. This council had already used its discretionary powers to set discount levels in respect of empty properties and second homes which were detailed in appendix 2.

 

She also informed Members that councils also had powers to charge an additional 50% council tax in respect of class C properties which had been empty and unfurnished for more than 2 years. In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that the Government were proposing to increase the amount from 50% to 100% which this council may like to consider when further details are published.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance reported that as of October 2017 80 properties had been empty for more than 2 years and the additional council tax income for CBC would amount to £7,300.

Charging the premium acted as a penalty and was one of a number of powers the council had to tackle empty properties. The council wanted to encourage owners to bring empty homes back into use and charging the premium would send a clear message to owners that it was not acceptable to keep properties empty.  Increasing the premium to 100% would further incentivize owners to bring empty properties back in to use.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance recognised that there were are a wide range of reasons for properties being unoccupied. She reported that the number of homes in Cheltenham vacant for longer than 6 months stood at 395 in October 2016 which is 0.7% of the stock), or around 1 in 143 dwellings. The proportion of Cheltenham empty homes that were long term vacant was 23.6% of the total number of empty homes. This was the lowest long term vacant homes rate of the six local authorities in Gloucestershire. The comparable figure for Gloucester was 30.8% and 44.5% in the Forest of Dean.

 

The Council monitored vacant homes in the private sector and took action where they were being kept empty without good reason for longer than 6 months. In 2016-17, the authority intervened successfully in 130 cases and had done so with another 39 cases so far this year.

 

Information published by DCLG in October 2016 showed that 287 out of 326 council’s were charging this premium, in Gloucestershire currently Stroud and Cotswold both do.

 

She therefore sought Council’s support in implementing the empty homes premium of 50% with effect from 1st April 2018.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

It be determined that the Council Tax Empty Homes Premium of 50% is implemented from 1st April 2018 in respect of properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years.

 


Meeting: 05/12/2017 - Cabinet (Item 7)

7 Council Tax Premium on long-term empty homes pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED THAT Council be recommended to

 

Determine that the Council Tax Empty Homes Premium of 50% is implemented from 1st April 2018 in respect of properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Finance introduced the report and reminded Members that the Local Government Finance Acts of 2003 and 2012 introduced some amendments to the 1992 finance act, giving discretionary powers for councils to set the level of council tax discount on empty properties and that this council had already used its discretionary powers to set discount levels in respect of empty properties and second homes which were detailed in appendix 2.

 

The Cabinet Member Finance went on to say that the 2012 act also introduced the empty homes premium allowing councils to charge an additional 50% council tax in respect of class C properties which had been empty and unfurnished for more than 2 years. She reported that in the Autumn Statement the chancellor announced that the government were proposing to increase the amount from 50% to 100% which this council may like to consider when the details came forward.

 

The decisions made so far supported this council’s strategy to bring empty homes back into use more quickly and generate additional council tax income, however she stated that the additional income was less important than the principal of encouraging empty homes being brought back into use. She stated that as of October this year 80 properties had been empty for more than 2 years and the additional council tax income for CBC would amount to £7,300.00.

 

The Cabinet Member then referred to information published by DCLG in October 2016 which showed that 287 out of 326 councils were charging this premium. In Gloucestershire this premium had currently been introduced by Stroud and Cotswold district councils.

 

The Cabinet Member Housing paid tribute to the hard work of the Empty Homes and Revenues and Benefits teams in preventing more properties falling on to the empty homes list.

 

Finally, the Leader added that the use if this was one small lever to provide an incentive for property owners to bring empty homes back into use was to be welcomed.

 

RESOLVED THAT Council be recommended to

 

Determine that the Council Tax Empty Homes Premium of 50% is implemented from 1st April 2018 in respect of properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years.