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Owners of empty properties in South Kesteven to face sharp rise in council tax

Owners of empty properties in South Kesteven face a sharp hike in council tax should their properties remain empty for long.

A meeting of the district council’s cabinet has backed a report by Cabinet member for finance, Coun Adam Stokes (Con), calling for the penalty rates to be introduced from 2019/20.

South Kesteven has 100 dwellings that have been empty for between two to five years, 31 empty for five to 10 years and
28 empty for more than 10 years.

South Kesteven District Council (7202134)
South Kesteven District Council (7202134)

At present, councils and other billing authorities can charge up to 150 per cent on dwellings which have been ‘unoccupied and substantially unfurnished’ for over two
years. Furthermore, no council tax is paid for the first month a dwelling is empty, followed by a further 25 per cent discount for a further five months.

After this, a full 100 per cent charge applies if it remains unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.

Any dwelling left empty for more than two years incurs a premium charge of 50 per cent council tax.

New legislation on the ‘empty homes premium’ has been introducing that allows councils from 2019/20 to charge a 100 per cent premium (ie extra) for substantially unfurnished dwellings empty for two to five years.

Then, in 2020/21 substantially unfurnished dwellings empty for five to 10 years will face a 200 per cent premium (pay treble) and the following year, substantially unfurnished properties empty for more than ten years will face a 300 per cent premium.

A council report added: “The primary objective of the premium charge is to encourage the property owners to proactively seek occupancy of the residential property in order to help maximise occupancy of the housing stock in the district. Introducing premiums to our council tax is one tool in delivering this objective.

Cabinet members passed the move without debate.

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