Hike in tax for second homes

Changes: Tax may be hiked on empty and second homes
Changes: Tax may be hiked on empty and second homes
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Second homes in the city and properties which have been empty for more than two years are set to be hit by proposed new changes in council tax.

As part of plans to cut the number of empty homes in Preston, 304 second homeowners could see a 10 per cent council tax discount revoked.

And council tax looks set to be doubled for 424 homes that have been empty for more than two years.

The changes could bring in an extra £692,000 a year, with £117,000 of that going to Preston Council.

Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston Council, said: “We are very keen to see this go ahead.

“The end aim is to reduce the number of empty properties in Preston and (these changes) clearly makes it financially beneficial for them to be put on the market.

“It also has the added benefit of raising a bit more money for the council.

“There isn’t a lot of good news around in terms of local authority funding at the moment, but this is the one glimmer in amongst all the gloom of what we’ve got.”

Changes could include revoking a 10 per cent discount on second homes, replacing a six-month exemption for empty homes with a two-month exemption, and doubling rates of council tax for properties that have been empty more two years or more.

Houses under construction could see a 12-month exemption replaced with a 50 per cent discount for 12 months.

There will be some people who are protected from these changes, including the elderly in care.

Coun Rankin said: “This should help ease the demand for housing in Preston, which is very good news.”

If given the go ahead, changes could come into effect from April 1 next year.

The proposals will be discussed by Preston Council next week.