Owners of empty homes in Richmondshire are facing a big hike in their council tax bill in a bid to increasing housing stock in the district.
District council officials say a recent strategy to bring long term empty homes back into use is reaping rewards.
In the last 12 months, 22 Richmondshire properties that had been empty for many years have been re-occupied.
In a further move to increase housing stock, all buildings empty for more than ten years will be subject to paying a 300 per cent council tax premium – on top of the normal charge from April
Properties empty for more than five years pay 200 per cent extra and those over two years 100 per cent.
A standard Band D property paying council tax during this financial year has a bill of £1,286; a property that has lain empty for over ten years pays £5,144 – the original bill plus another 300 per cent.
Local authorities have been asked by central government to look at measures to encourage the owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back on to the housing market, including changes to council tax premiums.
“As a result of our stance over the last 12 months we have seen a 15 per cent reduction in the number of long term empty homes in our district,” said council leader, Councillor Angie Dale.
“The numbers have dropped by 22 to 144 but we want to see that fall much further.
“We expect our tough new levels of council tax will go some way towards encouraging owners to get these homes into the housing market – we hope paying three times as much council tax will be a deterrent.”
Further details about council tax premiums for long term empty properties can be found at www.richmondshire.gov.uk/council-tax-premiums