On 1 November 2018 the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 received Royal Assent. It is yet to be confirmed when it will come into force but, when it does it will apply to England only.
Of more concern to residential landlords is the fact that the Act gives local authorities the discretion to charge a greater council tax premium on empty dwellings. Currently, local authorities can charge an additional council tax premium of up to 50% on homes. But this is on homes that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than two years.
From 1 April 2019, local authorities can charge an additional premium of up to 100% for properties empty for more than 2 years. Further, from 1 April 2020, the premium can be moved up to an additional 200% for homes empty for more than five years. And from 1 April 2021, the additional premium can be up to 300% for properties empty for more than ten years.
This will clearly increase the burden on residential property investors to ensure that property is not left empty for extended periods. In areas where it is not unusual to see properties sit empty for years on end, local authorities are welcoming these new powers as a means to encourage the owners of those properties to bring them back up to standard and get them occupied again.
For more advice these issues please contact Claire-Elaine Arthurs, Property Litigator at gunnercooke
DD: +44 (0) 7791 143 284