New rules in relation to Council Tax charges come into force next month.
In addition, there will no longer be a 50 per cent reduction in Council Tax liability for properties that are undergoing renovations that render them uninhabitable. Residents currently in receipt of this discount will no longer receive it from 31 March 2023, regardless of when the discount was applied. Council Tax will be charged at the full rate for any period the property is unoccupied.
Properties that have been empty for between two to five years will be subject to a 100% premium on top of the Council Tax charge. This will affect dwellings which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.
For properties that remain empty between five and 10 years, the premium will rise to 200 per cent, with a 300 per cent premium being applied to any property that has been empty for 10 years or more.
The decision to bring in the changes to charges was made at a recent meeting of Wealden District Council’s Full Council meeting.
Councillor Neil Waller, Wealden’s portfolio holder for Finance and Benefits, said, “We, along with other local authorities, have unfortunately seen a rise in the number of empty dwellings.
“The continued pressure on local authority finances together with the need to encourage all owners of domestic premises to bring them back into use, makes it essential that the council changes its approach to empty dwellings.
“From 1 April 2023, the council has taken the opportunity to make changes to both its discretionary discounts and also to the current premium regime in order to reduce the number of empty dwellings in the district.”