Tax clampdown on empty homes

By Annie DavidsonTHE owners of holiday homes and empty properties in the Tendring district look set to pay almost twice as much council tax.Tendring District Council has reviewed its council tax discount for the owners of properties that have been empty for more than a year and second homes.

By Annie Davidson

THE owners of holiday homes and empty properties in the Tendring district look set to pay almost twice as much council tax.

Tendring District Council has reviewed its council tax discount for the owners of properties that have been empty for more than a year and second homes.

The council tax charged for these properties is currently 50% of the normal charge - but from April next year the levy could increase to 90%, following a recommendation to Tendring District Council's cabinet.


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If the change to the second homes discount is introduced, it could bring in an extra £250,000 a year for the council.

However, any change to the discount for long-term empty properties would technically not bring in any more money as the council's government grant would be reduced by the amount of money raised.

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Some second homes in the Tendring district are subject to restrictions, which mean they cannot be lived in all year round.

However, the council cabinet has been recommended to apply the same charges to these properties as “it is neither felt practical nor necessarily justified to attempt differential charges for them”.

But properties classed as uninhabitable will be free from council tax charge for one year.

Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, said the changes had been put forward to produce more income for the authority and to give an incentive to the owners of long-term empty houses to use, sell or let them.

“I have got a second home up north and I have no qualms about paying the full tax. If you have got a second home, you can afford to pay the council tax. If you want that luxury, then you have to be prepared to pay for it,” he added.

The council's cabinet will make a decision on the matter on Monday, after which it could be called in by its overview and scrutiny committee.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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