Bid to reduce number of empty homes in Richmondshire approved

A review of council tax discounts on empty properties will see major changes from next spring.

Members of Richmondshire District Council’s corporate board this week agreed to recommend to full council that the one month empty discount is abolished.

They were told that the discount – which comes into place when a property is empty for a month, perhaps between lets – frequently results in disputes between landlords and tenants as to who is entitled to the discount.

As a result the council often has to write off the debt.

Councillors also agreed to ask full council to increase the charge on long term empty properties by levying a premium on them – there are currently 149 in Richmondshire.

Any long term empty property – a dwelling that has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years – currently has a 50 per cent council tax premium.

But from next April that will rise to 100 per cent for two years empty, rising to 200 per cent for over five years and 300 per cent for over ten years.

“We are looking to reduce the number of empty properties across Richmondshire and we hope this scheme will help to do that,” said council leader, Councillor Angie Dale.

“We will of course look at those people who have a genuine reason for the property being empty – perhaps legal reasons or people genuinely trying to sell or rent it out.”

For full details of the discounts check