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Council targets empty properties and second homes with higher charges

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Council targets empty properties and second homes with higher charges

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance, Local Government

Camden Council is planning to reduce the tax free period for owners of empty homes and to remove the discount for owners of second homes.

The council also intends to hit homes that have been empty for over two years with an additional 50% in Council Tax (CT).

Owners of empty habitable homes currently get a six-month CT holiday, but the council plans to replace that with a 100% discount for the first month and a full charge after that.

Likewise, second home owners currently receive a 10% CT discount on their second properties, which will be abolished under the new plans.

Changes to government legislation have allowed local authorities more flexibility to set CT levels, including the power to increase charges made to owners of second homes and empty properties.

The council says that bringing empty homes back into use is a key priority, and claims that second and empty homes make it difficult for local people to get on the housing ladder and do not encourage community development.

According to the council, there are 103,800 residential properties in Camden, most of which are occupied by residents as their main home. However, one in 14 homes are not lived in on a full-time basis and 6,717 will be subject to the changes in CT charging.

The council estimates that the new rules will raise £1,843,565 in extra revenue to be shared between Camden and the Greater London Authority.

Councillor Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance, said: “Camden has a severe shortage of housing, yet every year thousands of properties are left vacant by private landlords and second homes continue to enjoy a tax break. We plan to use new powers to end these perks. We believe this is a fair and necessary measure in the light of further cuts by central government."

The plans were agreed by the council's cabinet at a meeting last night and will be decided at a full council meeting on 21 January.

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