Second homes to face extra taxes
SECOND home owners who leave their properties empty are to be hit with extra council taxes.
If they leave properties empty for two years, they will have to pay an extra premium, of a 50 per cent extra tax. The mandatory discount on holiday homes that are used only at weekends is also to be abolished.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell announced a £145m fund to be shared between councils and voluntary groups to help tackle empty homes.
The aim is to renovate empty residential properties, including those in private ownership, and restore them to use.
As from September 1, squatting will become a criminal offence, meaning that perpetrators could face up to six months in jail.