Council Tax Hike Planned For Empty Homes

21 December 2018, 11:50 | Updated: 21 December 2018, 11:51

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People who own empty homes in Gloucester could have to pay more council tax in a move to help tackle homelessness.

The city council are considering increasing it by up to four times on properties that have been empty long term.
 
It's hoped the move will encourage owners to bring them back into use and boost the number of homes available to rent or buy.
 
If it gets the go ahead, properties that have been empty for more than two years could see owners pay a charge of £150 from April.
 
The following April, that could be increased to a charge of double the amount of council tax. That would be for homes that have been empty for more than two years but less than five.
 
Any that have been vacant for more than five years would pay three times the amount of council tax.
 
By April 2021, owners of homes empty for more than two years but less than five could pay double, for those empty more than five but less than ten years, three times, and for those empty more than ten, four times the amount.
 
Only homes that are owned by someone in the armed services or those that are part of a main residence like a "granny flat" will be exempt.
 
At the moment, vacant properties get a discount of 25 percent on their council tax for the first six months.
 
There are 350 homes in Gloucester that have been empty for more than two years and around 160 households living in temporary accommodation.
 
Councillor Jennie Watkins said: "Homes that are standing empty not only often attract antisocial behaviour or vandalism but are also often places that could make perfectly good homes for people that are homeless. But we do recognise that there might be many reasons why a property is empty, which is why we've proposed introducing the charge gradually to give owners the chance to bring their houses back into use. And we are also offering a package of support through the Landlords Incentive Scheme to help property owners find and keep tenants."
 
Councillors will vote on the proposals at their cabinet meeting on 10th January.
 
Anyone who could be affected would be written to before these changes were made.