District Council announces its plans to encourage more empty homes back into use.

Posted on: Thursday, January 25, 2024

Newark and Sherwood District Council’s cabinet has passed proposals to widen the scope of the Empty Homes Council Tax Premium to include homes left empty for more than 12 months. This premium was originally introduced for homes that had been unoccupied for two or more years, to encourage property owners to empty homes back into use.

Past measures saw 267 unoccupied properties being levied with the premium which was charged to any property left unoccupied for more than 2 years. The premium increases if properties are left unoccupied for longer periods with those empty for 10 or more years facing a 300% increase to their Council Tax bill.

The new resolution means that now homes left unoccupied for more than 12 months will face a 100% increase to their Council Tax bills. This will bring 748 properties into the scope of the scheme and is hoped to prompt property owners to bring unused housing back into use across the District.

This scheme follows the passing of the Levelling up and Regeneration Act 2023 which allows Local Authorities to charge this premium with discretion to consider exceptional circumstances as exempt from this premium.

Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations at Newark and Sherwood District Council, supported the proposal, “This the right measure, we need to get empty properties occupied and used again.”

“This country faces a huge housing shortage with waiting lists for social housing and house prices leaving many people unable to get a foot on the property ladder. In this context, where we desperately need to be able to offer affordable housing to residents, it seems sensible to encourage property owners to bring empty properties back to being used,” explains Councillor Paul Peacock, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council. “Bringing empty properties back into use not only provides much needed housing for residents, but also helps to keep the communities where they are located vibrant and healthy.”

These new measures will be introduced from 1 April 2024 and will apply until 31 March 2025.