Currently, local authorities can, at their discretion, apply a council tax premium to long term empty dwellings, which are defined as: a dwelling which has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least two years.
From 2024, the period of non-occupation will be reduced meaning that authorities can apply the premium after only one year.
In addition, a new discretionary council tax premium that billing authorities can apply could be up to 100% for dwellings classed as second homes. Second homes are defined as dwellings which are periodically occupied and substantially furnished but have no resident.
Both of these measures are aimed at reducing large concentrations of empty and second homes in particular areas, which can have a negative impact on local communities and services.
The government does recognise that there is a need for exemptions to these premiums in certain cases and is seeking views on:
- whether they have identified these cases where exemptions should apply, and
- whether they have missed any.
We will be responding to the consultation after having collated views from members on if there are other exemptions from these premiums that need to be in place, particularly in relation to dwellings on farms.
We will publish our response shortly.