Council Tax Empty Property Premium Consultation
Consultation on potential changes to the existing Council Tax premium
Darlington Borough Council is consulting on potential changes to the amount of Council Tax that is charged on empty properties.
Since 2013, Local Authorities have been able to charge a premium on Council Tax bills for owners of homes that have been empty for two years or more. The current charges are outlined below:
- A property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more is subject to an empty property premium of 100%. This means that in addition to the full charge, an extra 100% will be payable.
- A property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than five years the empty property premium will be 200%. This means that in addition to the full charge, an extra 200% will be payable.
- A property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 10 years, the empty property premium will be 300%. This means that in addition to the full charge, an extra 300% will be payable.
The Regeneration and Levelling Up Bill will introduce a new power for Local Authorities to charge the 100% Council Tax empty property premium on properties which have been empty for over one year, instead of the current two years as outlined above. The Bill is due to receive Royal Assent and it is expected that Local Authorities will be able to charge the higher premium from the 1 April 2024.
Empty properties can be unsightly and cause a health and safety risk. Properties which are left unattended and are not checked regularly can soon fall into disrepair. They can often attract vandalism and anti-social behaviour, especially if they become unsecure. These run-down properties can cause nuisance to nearby residents and can devalue other house prices in the area.
There are approximately 500 properties in Darlington that are currently empty and have been for over 1 year and it is thought that the changes to the Council Tax Premium may encourage owners to sell their properties or take positive measures to bring them back into use.
There are certain time limed exceptions to the premium and these will remain in place:
- Properties for sale or rent - only when the owner is genuinely seeking to sell or rent the property in the local market conditions (realistic selling price or rent level) advertised on the open market through the estate agent
- Properties in need of renovation - only where the owner is taking action to return the property to occupation and can provide evidence that the action has been continuous and realistic
- Owners who are experiencing a particular legal or technical issue which is preventing the sale or letting of the property - a solicitor's or legal conveyancer's letter should be produced as evidence detailing the reasons preventing sale or letting
The Council is consulting residents on the proposals to change the Council Tax Premium on unoccupied & unfurnished properties.
If you are an owner of an empty property, we would like to understand more about your views and the impact you feel empty homes have on the community. We would also like to understand the views of local people affected by empty homes and the views of the wider housing sector.