Council tax bill set to rise for long-term empty properties in Richmondshire

Council tax premiums on long-term empty properties in Richmondshire are to rise by up to 150 per cent next spring in a bid to boost the supply of homes across the district.

Since 2013, local authorities in England have had the discretion to charge a premium on ‘long-term empty dwellings’ – homes that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years.

The premium is in addition to the usual council tax charge that applies to the property.

Decisions on whether to apply a premium, and the exact rates to be charged, are a matter for individual authorities – and in Richmondshire councillors have agreed to increase the current level from 50 per cent to 100 per cent on properties empty for more than two but less than five years; and from 50 per cent to 200 per cent on properties empty for more than five years.

The changes come into place on April 1, 2020.

“This premium is an incentive to the owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use – and could potentially boost the supply of properties available to occupy within the district,” said leader of the council, Councillor Angie Dale.

There are a number of exclusions including:

  • where owners are genuinely attempting to sell or let their property which has been vacant for at least two years
  • where the owners are experiencing particular legal or technical difficulties (including planning issues) preventing its use
  • where the imposition of the council tax premium would result in severe hardship to someone with a serious illness, disability or vulnerability
  • in extreme cases, the council may decide to obtain a solicitors undertaking that the council tax will be paid from the proceeds of selling the property

More information can be found at