Consultation over increasing council tax on holiday homes and empty properties

A consultation will be held to see if people support increasing council tax payments on holiday homes, and properties that have been empty for a long time.

Cllr Aled Davies
Cllr Aled Davies

The decision was made at a meeting of Powys County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

It is thought that increasing the amount owners have to pay will be an incentive for these properties to be used.

If the consultation is favourable, the council will have an option to double the council tax bill on them.

Portfolio holder for finance, Councillor Aled Davies, said: “It’s important that we try and get as many empty properties as we can into the system, there’s always pressures on residents not being able to find suitable housing.

“The more we can do to help the better.”

Councillor Davies explained that in 2016 the previous administration had brought in a council tax premium that added and extra 50 per cent on top of the council trax bill for these properties.

The data showed that nearly 200 properties had come into use the following year, but since then the figures have gradually gone up.

Homeless crisis

Councillor Davies added: “We have a significant number of empty properties and we will run a consultation on the possibility of increasing the premium charged on those houses.”

Portfolio holder for housing, Councillor James Evans, added: “We have a homeless crisis and we have a number of people across the county that are in temporary accommodation.

“We need to get them in to suitable housing.”

But Councillor Myfanwy Alexander, was concerned that this could affect farming families.

She explained that if the head of the family died, the family homestead could be empty for a few years, before a child was able to move in.

This change could force families to sell their traditional home.

Portfolio holder for adult social services, Councillor Alexander , said: “I do have a concern that when these properties do come on the open market, I’m afraid they are not bought by local people, they will be second home owners or down-shifters.”

Councillor Alexander wanted to see the farming unions asked for their views on the consultation.

Councillor Davies, told the meeting: “That’s precisely why we will run this consultation, to tease out these issues.”

The decision to holding a consultation was voted though unanimously.

The number of long term empty properties in Powys is:

  • April 2017 – 1,060

  • April 2018 – 862

  • April 2019 – 990

  • April 2020 – 996.

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