Liberal Democrats call for action on empty properties


Liberal Democrat Councillors are calling on the Council to take further action on long-term empty properties, in order to help provide more homes in the city.

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In a motion to Council on Wednesday (17th July) evening, Cllr Stephen Fenton will call on the Council to levy up to a 300% council tax premium, as soon as legislated for, on landlords who have long-term empty properties. The motion, if passed, will also instruct council officers to work on a report to be considered by the Council’s Executive on what approaches can be taken by the Council to reduce the number of empty homes.

Nationally, there are currently 200,000 properties standing empty in England, and in our city, 527 properties remain empty, according to data from 2017.

Since 1st April 2013, national legalisation has allowed local authorities in England to charge a premium of 50% on the full council tax charge, and from 1st November 2018, this was changed to allow Councils to charge a 100% premium. However, from April 2021, the Council, should it decide to, will be able to charge a 100% premium on properties empty up to 5 years; 200% on properties empty over 5 years; and 300% on properties empty for more than 10 years.

Cllr Stephen Fenton, Liberal Democrat Ward Councillor for Dringhouses and Woodthorpe, commented:

“It is no secret that pressures in York’s housing market are making it increasingly difficult for people to set up a home in the city. Whilst this Council has embarked on the largest house building programme in the city since the 1970s, bringing empty properties back into use can have a significant positive impact on providing the homes York needs.”

“There is a clear opportunity to use new Council Tax legislation, which Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords helped secure from Government, and help reduce the number of long-term empty properties in the city.”

“It is incredibly important that the Council utilise every opportunity to drive down the number of long-term empty properties and relieve the pressures in our housing market.”


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