New 'second homes tax' leads to fall in empty homes across South Lakeland, says council report (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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New 'second homes tax' leads to fall in empty homes across South Lakeland, says council report
THE number of homes standing empty in South Lakeland has fallen following the introduction of new charges - according to a council report.
South Lakeland District Council introduced a new charge for property owners from April 2013 which meant they had to pay 50 per cent of their council tax - even if the house was empty.
Now a report has found that the number of homes empty for two years or more has fallen by 178 -going from 545 when the charge was introduced to 367 this October.
The council report says 326 owners of the properties are now paying the 50 per cent premium - resulting in over a quarter of millions pounds of revenue coming in.
The number of homes empty for six months has also fallen from 1230 in April to 1000 in October - a drop of 230.
This year, SLDC also scrapped a 10 per cent discount second home owners could claim so that they had to pay the full rate of council tax.
This has brought in an estimated £600,000, said the report.
A 50 per cent council tax discounts for those with homes in the area vacant for six months or more was also discontinued and has brought in a further £700,000.
SLDC said in its report to councillors that the premiums had been 'controversial' with 'several individual appeals.'
Councillors are being asked to agree to keep the policies in place when the full council meets on Tuesday December 17.
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