'A blight on our communities' - Some Doncaster landlords with empty properties will now pay 400 per cent more in council tax

Councillors have passed plans for massive increases in council tax for empty Doncaster properties branded a ‘blight on communities’.

Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 1:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 12:07 pm
Landlords with empty properties could be charged up to four times as much council tax

Cabinet members agreed to increase rates by a whopping 400 per cent for properties which have stood empty for 10 years or more.

Deputy mayor Coun Glyn Jones said the 599 empty homes – some empty for over two decades – is a ‘disgrace’ with many attracting vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The council say the majority are on the lowest council tax band paying £936 a year.

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Latest figures show 99 properties in Doncaster have stood empty for 10 or more years which means after the new increase is passed, a landlord with an empty band A property will have to pay £3,745 in council tax.

Properties which have stood empty for two years or more will see bills double and those that have been empty for five years or more will pay three times as much.

If the number of empty homes stays the same, housing bosses have calculated the council could receive an extra £1.4 million by March 2022.

But officers expect the figure to be closer to £980,000 due to the falling number of empty properties since the law was passed in 2013.

The empty homes premium does not apply however to empty properties that are exempt from council tax charges.

Under the laws, no council tax is payable for empty properties that are left unoccupied by someone who has gone to live in a residential care home; unoccupied because someone has moved to receive or provide personal care or left empty because the taxpayer has died and grant of probate letters or letters of administration have not been granted.

Once probate/letters of administration are granted, the exemption continues for a further six months unless the property is reoccupied, let, sold or transferred.

Deputy mayor Coun Glyn Jones said: “Very often, empty properties are a blight on our streets and communities and you ask anyone who is a neighbour of any of these properties and they’ll tell you about the anti-social behaviour, the concern and worry when these properties are empty.

“Something needs to be done to bring these back into use and increasing the council is one measure that we’ve got through legislation to allow us to do that.

“We’re trying to bring new properties onto the market and when empty properties are laid bare and not used it’s a disgrace.

“There’s around 600 homes in the borough that aren’t used appropriately and when you consider we’ve brought nearly a 1,000 new properties into use we need to do something with those 600 that are leaving a blight on our communities.”