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Empty property council tax consultation goes live

Released: Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Owners of long-term empty properties in Adur and Worthing could be charged three times the standard council tax rate under new proposals.

Since April 2013, local authorities have been able to impose an additional 50% on those who own homes which have been vacant for two or more years.

New legislation has been introduced allowing the Council to increase this 'long-term empty premium' to 100%. This could be increased to 200% for those that are empty for five years or more.

Before decisions about any changes are made, Adur & Worthing Council is asking for members of the public to take part in an online survey by 30th November 2019.

Current figures show there were 21 properties in Adur and 59 properties in Worthing with one of these standing empty since 1989.

A Councils spokesman said:

“Given the small number of properties involved and only about 17% of the amount collected going direct to district level, the financial gain to the Councils is modest. But with the pressures on the local housing supply, the additional charges may encourage Council Tax payers to bring these properties back into use.”

“We hope that the input from members of the public will help input into making a final decision on this topic.”

The consultation will also ask questions about whether the current one-month period when no Council Tax is payable on unoccupied and unfurnished properties should continue, and the current three-month period when no Council Tax is payable on properties undergoing structural or major works.

The proposed changes do not apply to unoccupied properties where the council tax payer is a charity (no fee for six months); gone into hospital or a care home (no restriction); or the owner has passed away and probate hasn't been obtained (up to six months after the grant of probate).

All feedback will be taken into account before any changes for unfurnished and unoccupied properties are introduced.

(PR19-154)

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