The owners of private homes in Croydon that are left empty and disused for years face paying double, triple or even quadruple council tax under cabinet proposals being considered next week.
Currently, local authorities can charge residents 100% of a council tax bill if the property is occupied, with an additional 50% if it is empty for more than two years.
From April, councils will have stronger legal powers to charge higher rates for long-term empty properties to encourage owners to bring them back into use and increase local housing supply.
Each council can decide how much to charge depending on the local housing market, and next Monday proposals going before Croydon Council’s cabinet include:
• An additional 100% council tax on homes empty between two and five years – from April 2019
• An additional 200% council tax on homes empty between five and 10 years – from April 2020
• An additional 300% council tax on properties empty for more than 10 years – from April 2021
The proposals going before Croydon Council’s cabinet meeting next week would not apply to homeowners with legitimate reasons for having an empty property, including members of the armed forces serving overseas or a home genuinely on the market for sale.
The council’s empty homes team has worked with local homeowners and developers to refurbish over 350 empty and unused properties back into use over the last three years.
“There is a housing supply crisis in London, so every empty home that can be brought back into use should be.
“Croydon Council has already provided advice, grants and loans so hundreds of private homeowners could refurbish empty and disused houses – so this proposal is about doing even more to get them to turn abandoned buildings into homes for people who need one.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services