Lake District second home owners will have to pay full council tax from next year

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

SOUTH Lakeland District Council is planning to scrap a Council Tax discount for second home owners and use the extra income to cover a half-a-million pound reduction in government funding.

The 10 per cent reduction is likely to be no longer offered from April and instead second home owners will have to stump up the full rate.

The plan, supported by the council’s cabinet, will need to be backed at a full council meeting on December 18.

The aim is that part of the additional cash generated should be used to fund a newly-created Council Tax reduction scheme.

The government’s Welfare Reform Act abolishes Council Tax Benefit from April 1 2013 and Whitehall has told SLDC it will receive £560,000 a year less towards paying out the benefit.

Coun David Evans, portfolio holder for resources, said: “The abolition of the old scheme would have meant the most vulnerable in our society, such as the elderly, those on low wages and the disabled could have suffered.”

SLDC has consulted on the proposal, including those on benefits and second home owners, and say a significant majority supported getting rid of the discount. SLDC says it will now be looking at removing or reducing Council Tax discount on empty properties to encourage owners to bring them back into use.

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Comments (22)

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11:12am Wed 5 Dec 12

onelocal says...

Should have gone up to 150%
Should have gone up to 150% onelocal
  • Score: 0

11:38am Wed 5 Dec 12

Geoff103 says...

A second home is, by definition, a part-time home and thus its occupiers only part-time users of local services.

A 10% discount seems a modest recognition of that. The notion that somehow that second-home owners should not only pay full Council Tax but a penalty rate above that speaks of nothing but resentment and envy on the part of those who suggest it.

And just in case anyone is minded to assume it, I am not a second home owner here or anywhere else. Just a Band E owner occupier somewhat depressed that the first thought of SLDC to a budgetary issue, is to attempt to increase revenue at every opportunity without first examining wasteful spending such as £340,000 on unnecessary new ticketing machines for its car parks - with more to be spent on modifying them.

Of course, that "SLDC has consulted on the proposal, including those on benefits and second home owners, and say a significant majority supported getting rid of the discount" is a totally disingenuous statement.

Non-Council Tax payers covered by the previous benefits regime will always be likely to vote for anyone other than themselves to pay more.
A second home is, by definition, a part-time home and thus its occupiers only part-time users of local services. A 10% discount seems a modest recognition of that. The notion that somehow that second-home owners should not only pay full Council Tax but a penalty rate above that speaks of nothing but resentment and envy on the part of those who suggest it. And just in case anyone is minded to assume it, I am not a second home owner here or anywhere else. Just a Band E owner occupier somewhat depressed that the first thought of SLDC to a budgetary issue, is to attempt to increase revenue at every opportunity without first examining wasteful spending such as £340,000 on unnecessary new ticketing machines for its car parks - with more to be spent on modifying them. Of course, that "SLDC has consulted on the proposal, including those on benefits and second home owners, and say a significant majority supported getting rid of the discount" is a totally disingenuous statement. Non-Council Tax payers covered by the previous benefits regime will always be likely to vote for anyone other than themselves to pay more. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

11:42am Wed 5 Dec 12

Gingery says...

If you move house and the tenancy or occupancy overlaps(which can easily happen to many people who wouldn't consider themselves second home owners), for that time the person who's name is on the properties ends up paying twice. I wish they'd look at this because moving can be a very stressful, and costly period for a lot of people especially those on limited incomes. Up until now those caught in that trap at least got a small discount for the property they left empty, now they won't even get that.
If you move house and the tenancy or occupancy overlaps(which can easily happen to many people who wouldn't consider themselves second home owners), for that time the person who's name is on the properties ends up paying twice. I wish they'd look at this because moving can be a very stressful, and costly period for a lot of people especially those on limited incomes. Up until now those caught in that trap at least got a small discount for the property they left empty, now they won't even get that. Gingery
  • Score: 0

12:18pm Wed 5 Dec 12

onelocal says...

Geoff103 wrote:
A second home is, by definition, a part-time home and thus its occupiers only part-time users of local services.

A 10% discount seems a modest recognition of that. The notion that somehow that second-home owners should not only pay full Council Tax but a penalty rate above that speaks of nothing but resentment and envy on the part of those who suggest it.

And just in case anyone is minded to assume it, I am not a second home owner here or anywhere else. Just a Band E owner occupier somewhat depressed that the first thought of SLDC to a budgetary issue, is to attempt to increase revenue at every opportunity without first examining wasteful spending such as £340,000 on unnecessary new ticketing machines for its car parks - with more to be spent on modifying them.

Of course, that "SLDC has consulted on the proposal, including those on benefits and second home owners, and say a significant majority supported getting rid of the discount" is a totally disingenuous statement.

Non-Council Tax payers covered by the previous benefits regime will always be likely to vote for anyone other than themselves to pay more.
I can assure you that my comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy. It does however relate to the situation where a large percentage of what are usually the lower cost homes are snapped up as second homes. This obviously reduces the homes available for locals, particularly younger locals, and pushes up prices artificially although you may like that idea.
Second home owners may be part time users of council services, that's their choice. However, councils have to provide most services for all homes, especially where their occupation might be intermittent. This means that full time occupiers may even subsidise services to second home owners.
Our council should be doing as much as possible to reduce the number of second homes, and charging a premium is the easiest way to do that
[quote][p][bold]Geoff103[/bold] wrote: A second home is, by definition, a part-time home and thus its occupiers only part-time users of local services. A 10% discount seems a modest recognition of that. The notion that somehow that second-home owners should not only pay full Council Tax but a penalty rate above that speaks of nothing but resentment and envy on the part of those who suggest it. And just in case anyone is minded to assume it, I am not a second home owner here or anywhere else. Just a Band E owner occupier somewhat depressed that the first thought of SLDC to a budgetary issue, is to attempt to increase revenue at every opportunity without first examining wasteful spending such as £340,000 on unnecessary new ticketing machines for its car parks - with more to be spent on modifying them. Of course, that "SLDC has consulted on the proposal, including those on benefits and second home owners, and say a significant majority supported getting rid of the discount" is a totally disingenuous statement. Non-Council Tax payers covered by the previous benefits regime will always be likely to vote for anyone other than themselves to pay more.[/p][/quote]I can assure you that my comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy. It does however relate to the situation where a large percentage of what are usually the lower cost homes are snapped up as second homes. This obviously reduces the homes available for locals, particularly younger locals, and pushes up prices artificially although you may like that idea. Second home owners may be part time users of council services, that's their choice. However, councils have to provide most services for all homes, especially where their occupation might be intermittent. This means that full time occupiers may even subsidise services to second home owners. Our council should be doing as much as possible to reduce the number of second homes, and charging a premium is the easiest way to do that onelocal
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Geoff103 says...

Well onelocal says his "comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy" and then goes on to demonstrate that it's exactly that which underlies his viewpoint.
Well onelocal says his "comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy" and then goes on to demonstrate that it's exactly that which underlies his viewpoint. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Wed 5 Dec 12

onelocal says...

No axe to grind myself Geoff, as a Band G owner who would be prepared to pay more. Just thinking of others less fortunate than myself.
No axe to grind myself Geoff, as a Band G owner who would be prepared to pay more. Just thinking of others less fortunate than myself. onelocal
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Geoff103 says...

Nothing to stop you paying more, onelocal.

Just write a cheque to SLDC. They accept donations.
Nothing to stop you paying more, onelocal. Just write a cheque to SLDC. They accept donations. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

12:38pm Wed 5 Dec 12

zaney5 says...

Geoff103 wrote:
Well onelocal says his "comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy" and then goes on to demonstrate that it's exactly that which underlies his viewpoint.
I wouldn't call onelocal's point envy or resentment.

Just plain old common sense.
[quote][p][bold]Geoff103[/bold] wrote: Well onelocal says his "comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy" and then goes on to demonstrate that it's exactly that which underlies his viewpoint.[/p][/quote]I wouldn't call onelocal's point envy or resentment. Just plain old common sense. zaney5
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Wed 5 Dec 12

johnwalker1000 says...

So a couple who live together will now register themselves as a single occupant at both their addresses so getting 25% discount in both locations. Even less money coming in for the council then. Was this latest plan thought through I wonder?
So a couple who live together will now register themselves as a single occupant at both their addresses so getting 25% discount in both locations. Even less money coming in for the council then. Was this latest plan thought through I wonder? johnwalker1000
  • Score: 0

3:24pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

If you look at Rightmove or Zoopla property websites, you'll see that the cheapest homes in the SLDC area have a local occupancy clause. It states that buyers/occupiers must have lived in that parish for 3 years previously or must have a prior connection with that area, so people from outside the area trying to buy a second home will look for a different property, often at a higher price. Ex-local authority houses and new-build houses (and building plots) often have that local occupancy clause. My point is that the cheapest houses are always available to local buyers and the minor change to council tax discounts is not a big deal, except to SLDC's budget.

If people can afford to buy a second home worth a minimum of (say) £300,000, the loss of 10% discount in council tax is not likely to drive them out. A change in the rules on capital gains tax or tax on holiday lettings income would be far more influential. There are some excellent comments above mine - thanks for that high level of debate.
If you look at Rightmove or Zoopla property websites, you'll see that the cheapest homes in the SLDC area have a local occupancy clause. It states that buyers/occupiers must have lived in that parish for 3 years previously or must have a prior connection with that area, so people from outside the area trying to buy a second home will look for a different property, often at a higher price. Ex-local authority houses and new-build houses (and building plots) often have that local occupancy clause. My point is that the cheapest houses are always available to local buyers and the minor change to council tax discounts is not a big deal, except to SLDC's budget. If people can afford to buy a second home worth a minimum of (say) £300,000, the loss of 10% discount in council tax is not likely to drive them out. A change in the rules on capital gains tax or tax on holiday lettings income would be far more influential. There are some excellent comments above mine - thanks for that high level of debate. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 0

3:41pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Hoad Hill says...

Geoff103 wrote:
Well onelocal says his "comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy" and then goes on to demonstrate that it's exactly that which underlies his viewpoint.
In what way does he go on to demonstrate.........
..?
[quote][p][bold]Geoff103[/bold] wrote: Well onelocal says his "comment has nothing to do with resentment, and certainly not envy" and then goes on to demonstrate that it's exactly that which underlies his viewpoint.[/p][/quote]In what way does he go on to demonstrate......... ..? Hoad Hill
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Hoad Hill says...

johnwalker1000 wrote:
So a couple who live together will now register themselves as a single occupant at both their addresses so getting 25% discount in both locations. Even less money coming in for the council then. Was this latest plan thought through I wonder?
And they will be breaking the law...what's your point?
[quote][p][bold]johnwalker1000[/bold] wrote: So a couple who live together will now register themselves as a single occupant at both their addresses so getting 25% discount in both locations. Even less money coming in for the council then. Was this latest plan thought through I wonder?[/p][/quote]And they will be breaking the law...what's your point? Hoad Hill
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Wed 5 Dec 12

zaney5 says...

johnwalker1000 wrote:
So a couple who live together will now register themselves as a single occupant at both their addresses so getting 25% discount in both locations. Even less money coming in for the council then. Was this latest plan thought through I wonder?
This makes no sense whatsoever. The article is about 2nd home owners, not couples trying to screw over the system by pretending to live apart.

2 different things.
[quote][p][bold]johnwalker1000[/bold] wrote: So a couple who live together will now register themselves as a single occupant at both their addresses so getting 25% discount in both locations. Even less money coming in for the council then. Was this latest plan thought through I wonder?[/p][/quote]This makes no sense whatsoever. The article is about 2nd home owners, not couples trying to screw over the system by pretending to live apart. 2 different things. zaney5
  • Score: 0

8:00am Thu 6 Dec 12

Ladyxxmacbeth says...

I hate to say it but I agree with Geoff
I hate to say it but I agree with Geoff Ladyxxmacbeth
  • Score: 0

9:57am Thu 6 Dec 12

oceancloud says...

A second home may be a part time home but it doesn't stop the owner from renting it out on a holiday let basis when not using it. There are some so called second homes going for upwards of a thousand pound a week in the summer as illustrated by a house at the end of my road. These houses are certainly using all the facilities provided by SLDC a lot more than the short time mentioned earlier.
A second home may be a part time home but it doesn't stop the owner from renting it out on a holiday let basis when not using it. There are some so called second homes going for upwards of a thousand pound a week in the summer as illustrated by a house at the end of my road. These houses are certainly using all the facilities provided by SLDC a lot more than the short time mentioned earlier. oceancloud
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Thu 6 Dec 12

tictoc1 says...

I am resentful and I'm happy to admit it. I haven't had chance to buy my first house yet. A couple of months ago a house came up for sale on the road I live on. We tried to buy it, put in our max bid (as it then went to tender) and we "just" outbid, by people who are going to either rent it out (as they already had a house) or use it as a holiday let. So yes, I'm glad that second homes are going to be charged the full rate. There doesn't seem to be enough houses in the area that first time buyers can afford and second homes "may" be a contributing factor.
I am resentful and I'm happy to admit it. I haven't had chance to buy my first house yet. A couple of months ago a house came up for sale on the road I live on. We tried to buy it, put in our max bid (as it then went to tender) and we "just" outbid, by people who are going to either rent it out (as they already had a house) or use it as a holiday let. So yes, I'm glad that second homes are going to be charged the full rate. There doesn't seem to be enough houses in the area that first time buyers can afford and second homes "may" be a contributing factor. tictoc1
  • Score: 0

3:37pm Thu 6 Dec 12

Guanajuato says...

Milkbutnosugarplease wrote:
If you look at Rightmove or Zoopla property websites, you'll see that the cheapest homes in the SLDC area have a local occupancy clause. It states that buyers/occupiers must have lived in that parish for 3 years previously or must have a prior connection with that area, so people from outside the area trying to buy a second home will look for a different property, often at a higher price. Ex-local authority houses and new-build houses (and building plots) often have that local occupancy clause. My point is that the cheapest houses are always available to local buyers and the minor change to council tax discounts is not a big deal, except to SLDC's budget.

If people can afford to buy a second home worth a minimum of (say) £300,000, the loss of 10% discount in council tax is not likely to drive them out. A change in the rules on capital gains tax or tax on holiday lettings income would be far more influential. There are some excellent comments above mine - thanks for that high level of debate.
When we moved to Kendal 11 years ago, every single estate agent said not to be bothered by local occupancy clauses, as they were easy to get around.
As for a discount for 2nd homes, why? By having a 2nd home you deprive the local community of permanence, contributing to the community. The usual response is 'but we spend our money in the community when we're there'. But there's a lot more to contributing to a community than money. I'd be happy to see 2nd homes forcibly used to home the most vulnerable in society.
[quote][p][bold]Milkbutnosugarplease[/bold] wrote: If you look at Rightmove or Zoopla property websites, you'll see that the cheapest homes in the SLDC area have a local occupancy clause. It states that buyers/occupiers must have lived in that parish for 3 years previously or must have a prior connection with that area, so people from outside the area trying to buy a second home will look for a different property, often at a higher price. Ex-local authority houses and new-build houses (and building plots) often have that local occupancy clause. My point is that the cheapest houses are always available to local buyers and the minor change to council tax discounts is not a big deal, except to SLDC's budget. If people can afford to buy a second home worth a minimum of (say) £300,000, the loss of 10% discount in council tax is not likely to drive them out. A change in the rules on capital gains tax or tax on holiday lettings income would be far more influential. There are some excellent comments above mine - thanks for that high level of debate.[/p][/quote]When we moved to Kendal 11 years ago, every single estate agent said not to be bothered by local occupancy clauses, as they were easy to get around. As for a discount for 2nd homes, why? By having a 2nd home you deprive the local community of permanence, contributing to the community. The usual response is 'but we spend our money in the community when we're there'. But there's a lot more to contributing to a community than money. I'd be happy to see 2nd homes forcibly used to home the most vulnerable in society. Guanajuato
  • Score: 0

8:06pm Thu 6 Dec 12

mailman1964 says...

if you can afford a second home you can afford the new tax.
if you dont like it then sell up.
plenty of people still looking for their first house, so no problem selling at the right price
if you can afford a second home you can afford the new tax. if you dont like it then sell up. plenty of people still looking for their first house, so no problem selling at the right price mailman1964
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Fri 7 Dec 12

jazzactivist says...

Quite right that 2nd (and 3rd and 4th) home owners should pay the full Council Tax on their properties. I think they should pay more than that, perhaps double, as although they argue that they only use local services part-time they use them more randomly than permanent residents and often contribute to local problems by not living here eg rubbish pile-up, burst pipes etc.

They also don't contribute to the local communities they buy into, as most 2nd homers have the attitude that they are here on holiday away from all their responsibilities, so don't need to participate. So local people serve on the committees and action groups, vote and take care of the local environment for them. Yet they expect to dash to the front of the queue for emergency doctor's and dental appointments etc.

No, it's morally unacceptable for people to buy 2nd properties in areas where there is a shortage of affordable housing for local people. Of course permanent residents should feel resentful. But it isn't envy, its anger at the thoughtless behaviour of a wealthy few who aren't considering the bigger picture of their actions.
Quite right that 2nd (and 3rd and 4th) home owners should pay the full Council Tax on their properties. I think they should pay more than that, perhaps double, as although they argue that they only use local services part-time they use them more randomly than permanent residents and often contribute to local problems by not living here eg rubbish pile-up, burst pipes etc. They also don't contribute to the local communities they buy into, as most 2nd homers have the attitude that they are here on holiday away from all their responsibilities, so don't need to participate. So local people serve on the committees and action groups, vote and take care of the local environment for them. Yet they expect to dash to the front of the queue for emergency doctor's and dental appointments etc. No, it's morally unacceptable for people to buy 2nd properties in areas where there is a shortage of affordable housing for local people. Of course permanent residents should feel resentful. But it isn't envy, its anger at the thoughtless behaviour of a wealthy few who aren't considering the bigger picture of their actions. jazzactivist
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Sun 9 Dec 12

emmysar says...

Think all second homeowners should pay the full tax and have thought this for many years ... Now for a new thought what about all the holiday lodges now being sold with planning for 50+ weeks occupancy!!! Surely they will pay full council tax too or will we witness these owners using the council tips to do their own refuse ???
Think all second homeowners should pay the full tax and have thought this for many years ... Now for a new thought what about all the holiday lodges now being sold with planning for 50+ weeks occupancy!!! Surely they will pay full council tax too or will we witness these owners using the council tips to do their own refuse ??? emmysar
  • Score: 0

6:20pm Tue 11 Dec 12

furthersouth says...

I agree with a 10 percent reduction of council tax for second home owners, provided that the only have 10 percent of their property protected by the local policing, 10 percent of their bins emptied, 10 percent of street lighting outside their property, 10 percent of the road swept, shall I go on..... i think not. Full price for all. Some may well decide to use the property more as a result thus spending more in the local area.
I agree with a 10 percent reduction of council tax for second home owners, provided that the only have 10 percent of their property protected by the local policing, 10 percent of their bins emptied, 10 percent of street lighting outside their property, 10 percent of the road swept, shall I go on..... i think not. Full price for all. Some may well decide to use the property more as a result thus spending more in the local area. furthersouth
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Tue 11 Dec 12

onelocal says...

Anyone else wondering why SLDC has gagged the WG with an injunction. What's going on?
Anyone else wondering why SLDC has gagged the WG with an injunction. What's going on? onelocal
  • Score: 0

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