Recommendations to apply a 50% council tax premium to long-term empty dwellings will be considered by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet next week.
Following public consultation seeking views on whether the Council should charge a premium for long-term empty dwellings, Cabinet will receive feedback on the responses and decide whether to recommend to Full Council that from April 1, 2019 a 50% premium is applied to properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 12 months or more.
Under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, councils can apply a premium of up to 100% on top of the standard rate of council tax to long-term empty homes and use any additional revenue generated to help meet local housing needs.
Many issues of community concern arise from empty properties in the city including problems with fly-tipping, nuisance, vandalism, criminal activity and visual deterioration. Empty homes are also a wasted resource in light of the housing demand in the city.
There are currently more than 3,100 empty homes in the city and 869 of those have been vacant for more than 12 months. Currently, unoccupied and largely unfurnished dwellings in Cardiff receive a 50% discount from the council tax charge. This reduction will be removed from April 1 and an extra 50% would be added on top of the standard level of council tax for long-term empty properties.
More than 85% of those who responded to the consultation agreed that empty properties are an eyesore and 71% felt that a council tax premium of 50% or more should be charged on long- term empty dwellings.
While some exceptions and exemptions would apply to the proposed changes, it’s estimated that an additional £300,000 could be collected in council tax charges for long term empty dwellings, if a 50% premium was applied.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr Chris Weaver said:
“Empty homes are such a wasted resource and can attract a range of problems so we want to get these empty properties back into use for people who need them.
“The Council already seeks to incentivise owners to return dwellings to use in a number of ways but we hope that the removal of the 50% council tax discount for empty dwellings and applying a premium for long-term empty properties will encourage more homes to be brought back to the market.”
If approved by Cabinet on Thursday, February 21, Full Council must then consider the recommendation to apply the 50% premium to long term empty properties.