Council tax set to double on empty homes

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Council tax on empty properties across the district is set to double as part of efforts by the district council to ease the national housing shortage.

Currently council tax is charged at a 50 per cent rate on empty properties, but that is now expected to rise to 100 per cent, should the council agree to the move.

The matter is set to be discussed by Cabinet on Monday and if agreed, would be incorporated into the budget for the forthcoming financial year.

There are just over 200 properties in the district which would now be liable for the full rate and the change would raise around £186,000.

Only 8 per cent of this figure (£14,927) would be retained by Stratford, but the idea is to encourage property owners to bring their properties back into use.

A large number of councils nationally are also planning to increase the council tax rate on empty properties from April.

David Platts, head of ICT and revenues at Stratford District Council, said: “This levy is part of the Government drive to increase the number of properties back on to the market and so contribute to the national shortfall in housing numbers.

“Around 200 properties currently have to pay the 50% levy. The current exemptions around hospital care, severe mental impairment, armed forces, cases awaiting probate and any property on the market for genuine sale, all still apply so are still not subject to the Levy.

“The District Council’s Affordable Housing Delivery Group have pledged their support to this proposal.”