Plans to reduce Council Tax discounts and exemptions available to owners of empty homes were approved by St Albans City and District Council’s Cabinet last night.
The Government is planning to implement legislation that will allow the Council to vary Council Tax exemptions and discounts for vacant houses from April next year.
In anticipation of these new powers, Cabinet decided on 18 October to support proposals to:
- reduce the 12 month exemption from Council Tax for properties that are subject to major works of repair or renovation from 100% to 50%,
- reduce the exemption from Council Tax for properties that are unfurnished and vacant from 100% for 6 months to zero,
- introduce a 50% premium on Council Tax bills where properties are empty for more than two years,
- reduce the discount on Council Tax where the property is a second home or is empty and furnished from 10% to zero.
These proposals could result in an additional income for the Council of up to £120,000, representing 11% of the potential revenue created by the changes. The balance will be shared by Hertfordshire Police Authority and Hertfordshire County Council and other recipients of Council Tax.
Councillor Julian Daly, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Resources at the Council, said: “As a council, we want to encourage owners of empty properties to bring them back into use as quickly as possible. We need to make the best use of all the accommodation available in the District. That’s why we recently appointed an Empty Homes Officer to work with property owners to bring empty homes back into use. We are also working with housing associations to help redevelop the Council’s garage sites to provide additional housing.”
A webcast of the meeting on 18 October can be watched on the Council’s website at: http://www.stalbans.ukcouncil.net/site/
The agenda and papers for the meeting are available on the Council’s website at: http://stalbans.moderngov.co.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=117
Councillor contact: Councillor Julian Daly, Leader and Portfolio Holder for Resources at St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 07775 657200
Contact for the media: Amanda Wilkinson, Media and Internal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 819317, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org