Rental homes set to be subject to council tax as soon as they fall empty

New plans to give local authorities power to charge council tax on homes as soon as they become empty could hit sellers and landlords hard – and give letting agents a mammoth administrative headache.

At the moment, when a domestic property falls vacant, the owner is granted a mandatory period of six months before council tax becomes payable. Ministers want to abolish this mandatory requirement.

Under the Localism Act, the Government is proposing to replace it with a clause that would let local authorities charge whatever they wanted on empty homes for the first six months.

They could if they wished charge nothing, or the full 100% council tax, or anything in between. The carrot for local councils is undeniable – they would be able to hang on to every penny.

After the first six months, full council tax would be payable, as now.

The actual proposal is to abolish the Class C exemption for council tax purposes.

Class C dwellings are empty homes that are largely unfurnished. Other classes, which would appear to remain untouched by the latest moves, include homes left empty after someone has become ill or because the property is subject to probate.

Of the Class C category, the Government says ‘there is no compelling reason why the first six months should be treated so generously’.

Read the full story at Letting Agent Today

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