Council Tax Changes for Long Term Vacant Properties

Council Tax for vacant properties to increase

Council Tax costs are due to increase for vacant properties in the Midlothian area with the aim to encourage owners to bring their empty property back to use.

Empty properties are a wasted asset and can be costly to the owners and the local community while also having a negative impact on the appearance of a street or the value of neighbouring properties.

Current Charges

Midlothian Council currently charges 90% Council Tax to unoccupied homes but new legislation was passed by the Scottish Government in 2013 allowing a further increase to these charges. Local authorities now have discretionary powers to charge a maximum of 200% to these properties, the legislation does however allow for careful judgment to vary council tax charged for different cases where is considers appropriate to do so, for example length of vacancy or area the dwelling is located. 

Exemptions

Owners with second homes will be exempt from this increased charge until the property has been unoccupied for one year. Home for sale or rent will be exempt from the increase until they have been unoccupied for two years or more. 

Councillor Kelly Parry, responsible for Finance and Integrated Service Support, said: “Vacant properties can deteriorate rapidly and bringing these homes back to life could save mounting costs to the owner. 

“We hope that raising the council tax for these properties will motivate owners to get these properties back in use. Making use of empty homes could help address the need for more affordable housing in Midlothian.”

20 Dec 2016