Councils in various parts of the UK are planning to remove the 50% discount on properties that are unoccupied.
In an effort to bring homes that have been vacant for a long time back into use, councils in areas including Cardiff, Coventry, Worcester, Doncaster, Burnley, Wakefield and Sefton are planning to remove the 50% discount.
This could mean that councils could charge the full 100% council tax bill, in an effort to incentivise those responsible for the bill, to get those homes back on the sales market, or into the rental sector.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates that there are currently around 107,350 households in the private rented sector across Sefton. In a bid to increase the levels of available homes in Sefton, the local council is seeking feedback from private landlords regarding new legislation that could see council tax charges on empty homes increase.
Madalena Penny, Director of Lettings and Property Auctions at Penny Joseph, commented: “At first glance Sefton Council’s proposed legislation can appear detrimental to private landlords, by penalising them for vacant properties. However, if the policy is implemented fairly, it could lead to freeing up more homes to people in need of property, and help private landlords get a return on their investment.”
“Sefton Council should understand, that there are a number of private landlords that have no choice when it comes to vacant property. In a number of cases, the need for extensive property maintenance along with tenant damage and rent arrears can leave properties without a tenant, due to financial problems.
“Not one size fits all, and each case should be looked at individually on an appeal basis. Perhaps with the additional revenue collected by the proposed legislation, Sefton Council can offer grants to refurbish properties left vacant and unfit for habitation.”