The owners of second homes which are left empty and unfurnished for more than two years could face a council tax increase as part of an effort to reduce the pressure on the district’s housing stock. If Canterbury City Council introduces the increase, they wifi be ordered to pay 150% of the tax – a £1,500 bill rising to £2,250. Housing supremo Cllr Joe Howes said:
“Homes left empty for the long-term are bad news for the local neighbourhood and the economy. This discretionary council tax premium could prompt owners to ensure their properties are occupied and not left empty.”
Members discussed the issue at a meeting of the full council in the Guildhall last Thursday and are conducting a public consultation. If imposed, it would apply to all eligible homes, with the exception of annexes and homes left empty by serving members of the armed forces. These members of the armed forces must be living elsewhere in accommodation provided by the Secretary of State for Defence or be subject to a job-related discount at an alternative address provided by the Secretary of State for Defence. Cllr Howes added:
“We need residents’ input when considering this policy so it’s important we hear their views. I would encourage local people to comment or fill out our quick survey on both the premium and its exceptions.”
The consultation can be completed at www.canterbury.gov.uk/emptyhomes or views can be sent in writing to Andrew Stevens, Canterbury City Council, Military Road, Canterbury, CT1 1YW. Comments should be submitted by Friday, January 2.
Herne Bay Gazette, December 4th 2014