Chamber News

Changes to Council Tax discounts for empty properties

Changes to Council Tax discounts for empty properties

Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury Councils are currently carrying out some engagement work on proposals to bring both councils’ council tax discount policies for empty properties into line with one another, in advance of the creation of West Suffolk Council in April 2019.

Reviewing the current arrangements gives the councils an opportunity to create a unified approach that supports both our local, and the Government’s national, ongoing efforts to reduce the number of empty properties. It also allows the councils to consider the new powers the Chancellor announced in the Budget 2017 to increase the council tax charges on long-term empty properties. These measures in turn help us in West Suffolk to reduce homelessness and increase the supply of housing in the wider market, thereby improving affordability for all our residents.

Our initial modelling suggests the impact of the proposed changes will not be significant and will be able to be absorbed by property owners, with some forward planning and given the current market rent levels in West Suffolk. However, before we introduce the changes, we want to be sure that the new approach is workable and fair and will also help achieve our goal of reducing the number of empty properties in West Suffolk, while still supporting a thriving private rented sector. We are therefore keen to hear the views of businesses involved with residential property in Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury Council areas, and should be grateful if you would pass on the details of this engagement to your members.

Further details of the proposals are available here.

Affected organisations and interested parties are invited to consider the proposals and provide any feedback to avril.raven@westsuffolk.gov.uk by 6 July 2018.

Article by Suffolk Chamber