Council to tackle number of empty homes in county
08 Oct 2019 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Northumberland County Council is to take advantage of changes in national legislation in an attempt to tackle the number of empty homes across the county.
The move will mean that owners of long-term empty properties will be charged more for their council tax in future to encourage them to bring their properties back into residential use.
There are currently 673 dwellings in the county which have been empty for two years or more. Of these 152 dwellings have been unoccupied and unfurnished for between five and ten years and 105 have been standing empty for ten years or more. These properties could provide much needed homes at a time when there is a real demand for affordable housing in the county.
At today’s Cabinet meeting, (8 October) councillors agreed to use discretionary powers to implement the charges, known as Empty Homes Premiums (EHP) to properties that have been continuously unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two or more years.
At present owners of long term empty properties pay a 50% EHP. In future:
- Properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more, but less than five years will incur a 100% EHP with effect from 1 April 2020.
- Properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for five years or more will incur a 200 % EHP with effect from 1 April 2020.
The EHP will be in addition to the 100% council tax that already needs to be paid for the property.
For example, the current average Band D charge for all precepts in Northumberland is £1,915.43. A 100% EHP would increase the average Band D charge for all precepts to £3,830.86.
Northumberland County Councillor Nick Oliver, cabinet member with responsibility for corporate services said: “Unfortunately some properties are left empty for long periods of time, often getting into a state of disrepair and attracting anti-social behaviour, when they could be providing an income to their owner and much needed accommodation for people in Northumberland.
“The premium payment is not intended to penalise owners of a property that are genuinely on the housing market and are up for sale or rent. It aims to make sure that we are bringing properties that are vacant back into use so we can increase the county’s housing stock and make sure that Northumberland has more homes available for its residents.
“The council has a good track record of working with homeowners, offering a range of assistance and incentives to help them bring their properties back into residential use.
Since October 2018, the housing team have assisted in returning over 100 empty properties back into use.”
For further information contact The Private Sector Housing Team on 01670 622299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for over 10 years will incur a 300% EHP with effect from 1 April 2021