A crackdown on landlords and homeowners who leave properties empty in the city is to begin.Advertisement
Preston City Council is preparing to introduce much larger penalties for those who sit on unfurnished properties and don’t let or sell them.
The city council says the additional income from the empty homes charge could net them and the government £314,962-per-year by 2022.
Of this the city council would receive £46,912.
The council has been charging an additional 50 per cent levy on empty homes since April 2013 but the government recently gave the council powers to go further.
Below are the newly approved empty homes charges:
– Any home left empty and unfurnished for at least two years will see a 100 per cent premium of council tax due from 1 April 2019
– Any home left empty and unfurnished for at least five years will see a 200 per cent premium of council tax due from 1 April 2020
– Any home left empty and unfurnished for at least ten years will see a 300 per cent premium of council tax from 1 April 2021
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Preston has the 13th highest percentage of long-term empty properties in the UK, with nearly one in 50 homes being classed as long-term empty – according to government figures released in November this year.
In 2018 the city had 1,150 properties fall into this category, a 7 per cent increase on the 2017 total.
Campaign manager at charity Action on Empty Homes Chris Bailey said: “Action on Empty Homes believes that every empty homes is a wasted opportunity to make a family’s life better. With so many people on social housing waiting lists and in temporary or unsuitable accommodation around the country the national total of over 216,000 long term empty homes is just too many.
“We support local council’s efforts to end this waste of valuable housing resource but believe that Government Investment is required to turn around a problem now growing at the fastest rate in a decade with a 5% year on year increase in England – meaning another 10,000 plus empty homes added across England in 2018.’
“We support schemes such as that in Preston where council’s lease properties from landlords for those in housing need but believe Government investment to allow incentives and refurbishment grants to be more widely available would help more of this good work happen.’
“Since Government abandoned its last funding scheme for areas with high levels of empty homes numbers across England have rocketed up and Preston is no exception.”
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