Own­ers of empty homes see coun­cil tax dis­count scrapped

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - By DAVID LAWRENCE & JOHN CAR­LON

OWN­ERS of empty prop­er­ties in Rugby and the sur­round­ing area will soon have to pay coun­cil tax after coun­cil­lors agreed to re­move a 100 per cent dis­count.

And if houses re­main empty for more than two years then own­ers will have to pay ex­tra - up to four times more in some cases.

The move was agreed by coun­cil­lors at this week’s Rugby Bor­ough Coun­cil cab­i­net meet­ing who also voted to charge the tax on un­in­hab­it­able prop­er­ties which had pre­vi­ously been ex­empt for up to 12 months.

Since April 2013, own­ers of un­oc­cu­pied and un­fur­nished homes were charged noth­ing for coun­cil tax for six months be­fore it re­turned to the usual rate.

If the premises were still empty after two years then an ad­di­tional 50 per cent was slapped on top of the bill to en­cour­age them to bring the prop­erty back into use.

But a re­port to the meet­ing pointed out that none of the neigh­bour­ing coun­cils were as gen­er­ous with their dis­counts and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Na­tional Land­lords As­so­ci­a­tion said that 90 per cent of coun­cils they dealt with charged the full amount from the first day of be­ing empty.

Ex­tra money for the coun­cilThe new ar­range­ments would bring in around £600,000 in ex­tra in­come, some £66,000 of which would go to the bor­ough coun­cil.

As part of the changes, it would make no dif­fer­ence if a prop­erty was deemed to be un­in­hab­it­able and there would be a slid­ing scale of ex­tra pre­mi­ums for homes left empty to long pe­ri­ods with a 300 per cent sur­charge put on the bills of any still empty after ten years.

The re­port added that the rules would also ap­ply to prop­er­ties in Rugby Bor­ough Coun­cil’s own hous­ing stock and that a num­ber of ex­emp­tions would re­main such as when the owner is in prison or in res­i­den­tial care.

News Re­porters Coun Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Bor­ough Coun­cil.

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