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We're tackling long term empty homes with Council Tax incentive

Published: Friday, 20 December, 2019

Owners of homes left empty for long periods face paying up to 300 per cent of their usual Council Tax bill.

Stroud District Council is committed to tackling the housing shortage, so approved a measure which is aimed at incentivising property owners to bring longstanding empty homes back into use.

There are 193 properties which have been empty for more than two years in Stroud district – up from 152 in October 2015. Since 2016 SDC has charged an additional 50% Council Tax to long term empty properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years but the Government has introduced the changes to improve the housing market.

A report considered by Strategy and Resources Committee and full Council this week said although the numbers have increased over the past few years, Government has reported where councils have been charging the premium consistently year on year, there has been a significant reduction in the number of homes left empty long term.

Council Leader Doina Cornell said: “We know there is a shortage of housing in the district and while we are doing all we can to build more council homes, help landlords let their properties, and work with community land trusts to tackle that, this approach is aimed at maximising what we already have.

“Other councils are following this Government initiative which aims to release homes which should be lived in.”

Councillor Chas Townley, chair of the council’s Housing Committee added:  “The Council wants to work with owners to bring properties back into use. We can offer free advice if the owner is willing to make affordable rented housing available – and we have £15,000 interest-free loans towards renovation and repair costs.”

Approval at Thursday night’s meeting means that owners of long term empty properties that have been empty and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period, shall be increased:

  • To 100% from 1st April 2020 for those properties which have been empty for 2 years and over
  • To 200% from 1st April 2020 for those properties which have been empty for 5 years and over
  • To 300% from 1st April 2021 for those properties which have been empty for 10 years and over

There are two exceptions in the legislation where the premium will not apply - if the property is left empty by a serving member of the armed forces who is absent from the property as a result of service, and empty annexes.

Further information is available at and

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