Empty Home Empty Heart - Zamu

Empty Home Empty Heart

New Powers For Housing Shortage

English councils are to get new powers to help them tackle the housing shortage.  The Government has stated it’s aim to make sure that communities have the homes they need using an ambitious package of long term reform and targeted investment

There are currently 200,000 homes empty for 6 months or more in England, this has reduced from 300,000 in 2010 since councils were given the right to charge 50% premium on empty homes.

An option that Cornwall Council has taken if a home is empty for more than 2 years.

Now council have the choice to increase this premium further if they continue to be left empty. Under plans announced by James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, to allow local authorities to charge the following premiums:

  • Houses left empty 2-5 years – double the council tax
  • Left empty for 5-10 years – triple the council tax
  • Those left empty for more than 10 years – quadruple the council tax due

 ‘We’re determined to do everything we can to ensure our communities have the housing they need. That’s why we’re giving councils extra flexibility to increase bills and incentivise owners to bring long-standing empty homes back into use,’ said James Brokenshire.

‘By equipping councils with the right tools to get on with the job, we could potentially provide thousands more families with a place to call home. Councils will be able to use funds from the premium to keep council tax levels down for hard working families,’ he added.

He confirmed that a clear majority of councils have introduced 50% premiums on long term empty homes. Where councils have applied the premium consistently every year, there has been a 9% fall in the number of homes being charged the premium.

The Government believe that this is proof that people who own these homes are now offering them for rent or sale.  We wait to hear what plans Cornwall Council will make.

This will do nothing to help communities blighted by Furnished Holiday Lets but will assist the number of properties used only as a second home and not occupied for more than a few weeks a year.

Will this solve the long-term problem? Unlikely but as part of a package to ensure that homes are available for people at a cost-effective price, it is a start.

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