Consultation launched on increasing council tax rates on second and long-term empty home owners
Neath Port Talbot Council is seeking residents’ views on whether or not it should impose higher council tax charges on owners of second homes and long-term empty properties.
Due to a change in legislation, councils in Wales are now able to charge a premium of up to 300% on second homes and long-term empty properties.
A second home is defined as a dwelling which is not a person’s sole or main home and is substantially furnished.
The 1992 Act refers to these dwellings as those which are occupied periodically, but are commonly referred to as “second homes”. This can include properties used for short term holiday lets which are subject to Council Tax and don’t qualify for any statutory exemptions.
A long-term empty property is a dwelling that is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year.
The council says the benefits of introducing premiums include:
- Bringing long-term empty properties back into use and supporting the Council in providing safe, secure and affordable homes.
- The existence of large numbers of long-term empty dwellings is a drain on the council’s resources. For example, the costs of outreach work and case work involving complaints and emergency works, so if the overall aim of bringing properties back into use is achieved, the burden on the public purse would be reduced.
- A financial benefit which will help the council to fund vital services that people in Neath Port Talbot rely on in a difficult period of budgetary constraints.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Social Justice, Cllr Simon Knoyle, said: “We want to hear your views on how we should respond to the change in legislation that increases the premium we can apply on second homes or long-term empty properties in Neath Port Talbot.”
By law, some long-term empty properties and second homes are exempt from paying a Council Tax premium. These are:
- Dwellings being marketed for sale and/or let (one year time limit)(applies to second and long-term empty homes)
- Annexes forming part of a main dwelling (applies to both)
- Adwelling which would be someone’s sole or main residence if they were not residing in armed forces accommodation (both)
- Occupied caravan pitches and boat moorings (second homes)
- Seasonal homes where year-round occupation is prohibited (second homes)
- Job related dwellings (second homes).
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