Owners of properties undergoing refurbishment or structural repair that result in the building being uninhabitable will no longer receive a 50% Council Tax rebate. In future owners will be charged the full Council Tax on their property, irrespective of whether it is undergoing major building work that renders it unoccupied.
The move was approved at Rother District Council’s meeting on December 17. Rother recognised that neighbouring councils, such as Hastings, do not offer a discount for uninhabitable properties.
Hastings Borough Council have in fact gone one step further and have announced that, as of April 2019, if a home is left empty for two years, the Council Tax payable on the property will double.
The charge will apply to all properties that have been left empty and unfurnished. In 2018 the Council estimates there were 1,334 empty properties in Hastings, up from 1,112 in 2017.
The charge will increase further to 200% extra from April 2020 for properties left empty for more than five years, and increased again to 300% extra from April 2021 for properties left empty for more than 10 years.
Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council said: “We have used compulsory purchase as a way to bring homes that have been left empty the longest back into use. But we have a housing shortage in this town, and there are still too many properties left empty. These new punitive council tax charges will work alongside our compulsory purchase programme to make sure empty homes are brought back into use.”
One wonders how long it will take for Rother District Council to follow Hastings’ lead.
Image Credits: Library image.