Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Crack down on long term empty homes [March 2024]

The press release issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on 11 March 2024.

Strengthened 100% council tax premium on long term empty homes comes into force on 1 April, with councils able to spend the money from the next financial year.

Sharpened rules to double council tax on long term empty properties will come into force from 1 April, supporting local people in areas where high numbers of empty homes are preventing them from finding affordable housing.

The rules will apply when a property has been empty for 12 months, rather than the current two years. Councils will be given new powers to introduce the tax premium on second homes in their area from next year, bringing in millions more for public services or keeping overall council tax bills down.

The Department for Levelling Up today confirmed a very limited number of exceptions have been set out following a public consultation, which will ensure the changes are fair to homeowners. These will apply to empty properties that are uninhabitable due to extensive renovation, second homes that are not available for use year-round due to planning restrictions or for up to a year on homes that have been inherited to prevent families who are grieving from having to pay.

The consultation response gives homeowners clarity so they can plan for the changes before they take effect, while councils will be able to budget for millions more to spend on public services.

Minister for Local Government Simon Hoare said:

“Long term empty properties are shutting local families and young people out of the housing market as they are being denied the opportunity to rent or buy in their own community.

“So, we are taking action as part of our long-term plan for housing. That means delivering more of the right homes in the right places and giving councils more powers to help give local people the homes they need.”

This follows reforms to give councils greater power to control short-term lets by making them subject to the planning process which will protect people from being pushed out of their local areas, preventing a “hollowing out” of communities and ensuring local people can continue to live in the place they call home.

The changes are part of the government’s long term plan for housing, unlocking more of the homes this country needs and meeting the target to deliver one million homes this Parliament, backed by £10 billion investment.