Second and empty home owners to pay more council tax in Camden
By JulieGK | Monday, December 10, 2012, 21:19
To tackle the problem of empty and unoccupied homes, Camden Council plans to reduce the tax free period for owners of empty homes and remove the discount for owners of second homes.
In addition, Camden plans to charge an extra 50% council tax if homes have been empty for more than two years.
The plans were agreed by Camden's cabinet at a meeting last week and will be decided at the full council meeting on January 21.
Owners of empty habitable homes were previously exempt from council tax for six months. This will be replaced by a discount of 100% for the first month and the full charge payable after that.
Further changes will see the exemption period of 12 months that was previously available to owners of empty uninhabitable property replaced with a discount of 25% for 12 months.
The discount available to second home owners and landlords of furnished properties was previously 10% but the full charge will now be payable.
Changes to government legislation means that there is now more flexibility for local authorities to set council tax levels. Local authorities have the discretion to increase the amount of council tax due from owners of second homes and empty homes.
Bringing empty homes back into use is a key priority for Camden and supports our aim to invest in communities to make neighbourhoods sustainable and create a Borough where more people feel safe than in any other part of London. Second and empty homes make it difficult for local people to get on the housing ladder and do not encourage community development.
There are 103,800 residential properties in Camden and most of these are occupied by residents as their main home. However one in 14 homes are not lived in on a full time basis and 6,717 will be subject to the changes in council tax charging.
It's estimated that the changes will raise £1,843,565 in extra revenue to be shared between Camden and the GLA.
Councillor Theo Blackwell, Cabinet member for finance said: "Camden has a severe shortage of housing, yet every year thousands of properties are left vacant by private landlords and second homes continue to enjoy a tax break. We plan to use new powers to end these perks. We believe this is a fair and necessary measure in the light of further cuts by central government."