Posted: 04.09.19 at 22:29 by The Editor
People living in Rutland are being asked to share their views on the premiums that are applied to empty homes in the county.
Empty homes are properties left vacant or uninhabited for long periods of time. They have the potential to become derelict, impact on neighbouring properties and become a focal point for anti-social behaviour - as well as being a waste of housing when people are in need of somewhere to live.
The Government has given councils the authority to set a premium for long-term empty homes, increasing the amount of Council Tax that property owners are required to pay if their home has been left vacant for more than two years.
The premium for homes in Rutland was set at 50 percent in April 2018.
With Council Tax for the average Band D property in the county currently £2,043.20 (including county council, parish council, police and fire contributions), this means the owner of an empty Band D property currently pays £3,064.80.
Since April 2018, the Government has given councils discretion to increase the premium further as follows:
• A maximum 100% premium for properties empty for less than five years
• A maximum 200% premium for properties empty for more than five years
• And, from 2021/22, a maximum 300% premium for properties empty for at least 10 years
As part of a public consultation that will run until 2 October 2019, Rutland County Council is asking residents for their views on four main issues relating to empty homes:
• Whether the council should take steps to increase its income from empty properties
• The size of premium the council should charge on long-term empty homes
• Whether certain groups should be exempt from paying the empty homes premium
• Whether the council should help people who have to pay the empty homes premium, but suffer financial hardship
Coun Gordon Brown, Cabinet Member for Revenues and Benefits at Rutland County Council, said: “Empty homes can have an impact on the streetscene and are often at risk of becoming sites for anti-social behavior and vandalism.
"The empty homes premium was introduced by national Government to encourage the owners of empty homes to bring these properties back into use.
"Rutland is also under considerable financial pressure because we continue to receive less Government funding than other councils, so must consider the empty homes premium as a way to increase our income and avoid reducing or cutting other services.
“It’s important to stress that the empty homes premium does not affect Council Tax for homes that are lived in. However, all residents and landlords, regardless of whether they own an empty home, should share their views with us.”
Rutlanders are invited to take part in the consultation by completing and submitting a survey online before Wednesday, 2 October 2019.
A link to the survey can be found by clicking the red button below.