Empty homeowners in Lancaster and Morecambe to be hit in the pocket with new council tax penalty

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Lancaster City Council will be charging owners of homes empty for more than a year a 100% council tax premium from April 1, 2024.

The council say they are doing this because they are keen to ensure that long-term properties are brought back into use.

A spokesman for Lancaster City Council said: “Empty homes are not just a blight on our communities, but with a shortage of homes in the area they are needed for local people in need of a home.”

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Councils were first given the powers in 2013 to charge extra council tax on properties which were empty.

Before and after at an empty property and after it was renovated.Before and after at an empty property and after it was renovated.
Before and after at an empty property and after it was renovated.

The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 now allows local authorities to charge the empty homes premium after a property has been empty for one year instead of two.

Lancaster City Council’s Empty Homes officer works with owners and provides advice and assistance to get properties brought back into use - and last year helped bring 62 homes back into use.

Their homeless housing options team are looking to work with property owners to provide houses to rent for homeless families who are in desperate need of accommodation too.

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If you are interested in letting your property on a long-term basis with a guaranteed monthly income email [email protected].

For advice on getting an empty home back into use, email [email protected].

Between April 2019 and April 2024 the 100% Council Tax premium was only chargeable on a property empty for more than two years.

From April 1, 2024, Council tax empty property charges are 0% for the first month, 100% between two and twelve months, 200% for 12 months plus, 300% for five years plus and 400% for 10 years plus.

There are some exceptions to the premium being applied at https://www.lancaster.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-reductions?chapter=3