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Councils ignoring mayor’s plea to hit empty homes with 150% council tax bill

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Councils ignoring mayor’s plea to hit empty homes with 150% council tax bill

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

Councils ignoring mayors plea to hit empty homes with 150% council tax bill Councils ignoring mayors plea to hit empty homes with 150% council tax bill

Image: Empty home via Shutterstock

Boris Johnson has said that 15 of the London local authorities he has lobbied to apply a 50% council tax premium on homes that have been empty for more than two years have yet to act.

The London mayor also said that he had raised the possibility with central government of boroughs charging more than 150% council tax on vacant homes.

Back in January, Johnson called on the capital's local authorities to follow Camden Council's lead and increase council tax on long-term empties to 150%.

The borough increased the rate last year and saw the number of long-term empties drop by 35% in nine months.

However, when Camden tried to increase council tax on empties to 200%, central government stepped in and blocked the move.

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson, who has been quizzing the mayor about the issue, said: “Councils should use every tool in the box to tackle the empty homes that blight their neighbourhoods. It’s inexcusable to leave homes standing empty for years when Londoners are facing such a serious housing crisis.

“I’m glad the mayor is pushing them to hike up taxes on homes that have stood empty for more than six months, and hope the government will be persuaded that much higher taxes are needed to tackle the ghost homes owned by rich investors.

"We need a cross-party push to allow councils to impose a tax of up to ten times the current council tax, so that it stops the scandal of investors buying properties which are then left empty for no good reason.”

At present, the following boroughs apply a 50% premium if a home is left empty for more than two years: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Hackney, Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond Upon Thames, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Wandsworth.

The remaining boroughs all charge full council tax without any premium for long-term empty homes.

However, the City of London offers discretionary 50% discounts on homes that remain empty.

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