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Plans for 300% council tax premiums for long-term empty homes in Caerphilly

Shayne Cook (third from left) with Caerphilly council's Empty Property Team (Pic: CCBC)

COUNCIL tax bills could be quadrupled in Caerphilly for owners of homes left empty for a year or more.

There are 1,008 so-called long-term empty homes across the county borough, including 131 that have stood empty for a decade or longer.

Shayne Cook, Caerphilly Council’s cabinet member for housing, said the local authority had made “great headway” in tackling the issue of empty homes, returning 104 properties into use last year.

Senior councillors hope that hiking council tax bills, by adding a premium of up to 300% on the normal rate, will be another way of encouraging owners not to sit on properties and leave them uninhabited.

The premiums could also apply to second homes.

Eluned Stenner, the cabinet member for finance, told colleagues at a meeting on Wednesday December 13 that the purpose of the council’s proposal was to “bring long-term empty properties back into use”.

Council leader Sean Morgan also supported the plan, telling the meeting empty homes “massively” impact on communities, leaving neighbours “complaining about the neglect” of those houses.

Following the cabinet giving its unanimous backing to the plan, the council will now launch a public consultation on the proposal to raise council tax premiums for such properties.

The cabinet was told there was “some leeway afforded” to owners in the short-term after a property was vacated.

According to a council report, it is “acknowledged that there is an ongoing national housing crisis, combined with continuing pressure to increase the supply of available good quality homes, and that empty homes are one of Welsh Government’s priorities”. 

“Most new housing supply will be delivered through new build programmes,” the council added. “Bringing empty homes back into use can offer an economically viable option, which can also contribute to increasing the affordable housing supply. 

“At the same time, it will have a positive impact on existing communities by improving environmental and social conditions.”

A four-week public consultation is expected in the coming weeks. If the council agrees to bring in the council tax premiums, the new policy could be enforced from April 2025.

Plans for a similar policy were announced in Newport recently.

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