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MPs debate doubling council tax for owners of long-term empty homes

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Written by: Lana Clements
23/04/2018
Legislation to hand councils more power against owners of long-term empty homes is being debated in parliament.

The law will allow local authorities to double council tax on homes empty for two years or more – up from a current premium of 50%.

It is estimated there are 200,000 vacant properties across the country, although this number has fallen by around a third since 2010, according to the government.

Parliament debates are an opportunity for MPs to voice concerns on new legislations coming into force.

Local government minister, Rishi Sunak, said: “This bill hands councils further tools to bring much-needed homes back into use and provide thousands of families with a place to call home.

“There are currently just over 200,000 long-term empty dwellings in England, compared to 300,000 in 2010.

“The number has reduced since 2013, when councils were given powers to charge a 50% premium on council tax bills.

“The vast majority of councils currently apply this premium on long-term empty homes.”

Homes that are empty due to the occupant living in armed forces accommodation for job-related purposes, or to annexes being used as part of a main property qualify for exemptions from additional charges.

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