Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The purpose of this report is to provide details of the Council Tax Premius for Empty Properties and Second Homes from 1 April 2024 onwards.
As this item did not meet the 28 days’ notice for a key decision, the relevant Scrutiny Chairman’s permission was sought, so this item could proceed.
The Cabinet was provided with details of the council tax premiums for empty properties and second homes with effect from 1 April 2024 onwards.
Members were informed that the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill proposed to allow billing authorities to charge a 100% long term empty premium on empty and unfurnished properties after the property had been empty for 12 months rather than the current period of 24 months.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill also proposed to allow billing authorities the power to apply a 100% council tax premium for empty and furnished properties known as second homes. Second homes included homes which were occupied but the occupier’s main home was somewhere else. The policy objective of these measures was to improve the supply of housing or for owners of second homes to make a greater contribution to council tax receipts.
Implementing the 100% council tax premium for long term empty properties would help support the Council’s objective to increase housing supply and encourage owners of empty properties to bring them back in to use.
Officers advised that it was too early to ascertain the impact of introducing a second home premium. Hence the recommendation that this was not implemented from 1 April 2024 and instead the option was kept under review with a view to implementing at a later date (possibly 1 April 2025).
Members were advised that for those owners who were actively trying to bring their property back into use or who could suffer financial hardship as a result of the proposed changes they would be able to make an application to have their premium reduced or waivered. The applications would be considered as part of the Council’s Discretionary Reduction Policy.
On receiving the report Members sought clarification on a number of points, which Officers provided. Officers explained that although some authorities were implementing the second home premium from 2024, it was mainly areas such as coastal locations where second homes were more prevalent, and it was easier to implement. Implementing the premium in Solihull would be more complex hence the need for clear guidance. Officers reiterated that legislation pertaining to second homes had yet to receive Royal ascent.
(i) That Cabinet recommended that Full Council approve the changes to the long-term empty premium so that with effect from 1 April 2024 the council tax premium is applied after the property has been empty and unfurnished for 12 months rather than 24 months; and
(ii) That it be agreed that the 100% council tax premium for furnished empty properties (known as second homes) is not implemented at this stage and is instead deferred to a later date once more information is known.
Report author: Joanne Robinson
Publication date: 10/02/2023
Date of decision: 09/02/2023
Decided at meeting: 09/02/2023 - Cabinet
Effective from: 18/02/2023