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Council Tax: Long-term Empty Dwellings

Consultation on a Proposal to Charge Council Tax Premiums

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 gives the Council discretionary powers to charge extra council tax (premiums) on long-term empty dwellings - those that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year.

Empty dwellings that are exempt from council tax would not be subject to premiums, for example where the resident has gone into a nursing home, or lives elsewhere to receive care, or where a resident has died and probate has not yet been awarded.

Long-term empty dwellings currently receive 50% discount on council tax and to apply premiums that discount would be cancelled, bringing the council tax charges to 100%.

Premiums would then be added: these can be up to another 100%, bringing the total charges payable to a maximum of 200%. Premiums may be added over a period of time and can be of any percentage, up to the maximum of 100%.
Certain dwellings are excepted from premiums: those being marketed for sale or rent at reasonable prices (for a further year); annexes forming part of a main dwelling, and dwellings vacated by a person residing in armed forces accommodation (permanently excepted).  There would also be a right of appeal if charging the premiums would cause unacceptable hardship to the owner.

Money raised from premiums may be used to help the Council bring dwellings back into use, so increasing the city’s housing supply. The Council regards this as an important tool to further its aims of improving the environment and the lives of Newport’s citizens. If the Council decides to charge the premiums, it will also have to decide how to use the extra income.  While the aim of the premiums is to reduce the number of empty homes in Newport in the long term, the extra revenue might be used to help owners bring properties back into use.
The Council has considered various options, especially about how long a dwelling should be empty before a premium is charged - please indicate which of those below would be your preferred option:
1. Option 1

Keep the current arrangements (where long-term empty dwellings receive a 50% discount).

Is this your preferred option?
2. Option 2 (The Council’s preferred option)

Discontinue the 50% discount and charge a premium of 100% after 2 years (that is, a 200% charge after 2 years).

Is this your preferred option?

Other Options

If you agree that the Council should charge an empty home premium but think it should be after a different time period or at a different rate:
3. How long do you think the dwelling must be empty (that is, unoccupied and substantially unfurnished) before we should charge the premium?
4. How much you think it should be?

100% (that is, in total, double the standard council tax)
5. If the Council applies a premium charge for empty homes, this would be extra income that the authority can use to help meet housing need in the city. Do you think that any of the suggestions below would help owners bring empty properties back into use?  Please tick any that you think would do so.

General Comments

6. Are you the owner of a long-term empty dwelling?
7. If yes, is your property currently on the market for sale or to let?
8. Is this through a commercial agent?
Thank you for providing your views on this consultation.
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