Long-term empty properties face 300% council tax premium in bid to bring homes back into use

Cardiff Council is proposing tough new measures to help bring long-term empty houses in the city back into use.

At a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet, councillors agreed recommendations to raise the council tax premium on some empty properties to as much as 300%.

In 2019 the Council introduced a 50% Council Tax premium for homes left unoccupied and unfurnished for a year, and last March increased this to 100%. The new proposals would see the premium increase incrementally the longer the house has been left, meaning homes that have lain empty for two years face a 200% charge while homes that have been empty for three years or more will face the maximum 300% premium.

Cllr Chris Weaver, the Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, said: “Our aim is to help bring empty homes back into use. We are facing a housing crisis and we must do everything in our powers to help house those people who need accommodation. Bringing empty homes back into use is one way of helping.

“The longer these properties remain out of use, the more they become a blight on our communities and become a focus of fly tipping, nuisance, vandalism and criminal activity and if they are boarded up they can reduce the appeal of an area for everyone.”

The meeting heard that as of December last year there were 1,563 properties that had been empty for more than six months at any one time, with 200 actively monitored by council officials. To encourage the properties to be brought back into use, the Council works with owners, encouraging them to join the Houses into Homes loan scheme, suggesting contact with private property developers and giving proof of empty status to enable VAT to be reduced on renovation costs.

The money raised from the premiums has helped fund the Council’s work on bringing empty homes back into use and help meet local housing needs.

After the introduction of tougher measures last year, the Council saw 74 fewer properties charged a council tax premium – 808, down from 882.

“This is a start, but suggests that the current level of premium may not be enough to persuade owners to bring long-term empty properties back into occupation,” added Cllr Weaver.

The proposals to increase the premium now will now be taken to full council, which sits on Thursday, March 7.  A live stream of that meeting will be available to view here from 4.30pm on the day Agenda for Council onThursday, 7th March, 2024, 4.30 pm : Cardiff Council (