Council Tax change for empty properties a welcome step.
Following a recent revelation by Liberal Democrats of the number of empty homes in Local Authorities across Wales, it is good to see that RCT Council are looking at taking a further small step towards addressing the problem.
At a meeting of the Council on Wednesday, 17th January members will discuss a proposal to remove the Council Tax discount which is currently applied to empty homes in the area. It is proposed that any extra revenue generated be used to bring more empty homes back into use.
According to the report which is to be put to Councillors research shows the main reasons for houses remaining empty long term are:
• Owners unable to fund repairs/improvements to sell or rent out the homes
• Owners and previous occupants allowing homes to become uninhabitable
• Low housing demand due to perceived social problems, such as anti-social behaviour
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell says
"RCT has one of the highest rates of empty properties in Britain as recent figures show. Whilst this is a welcome step and I fully agree that landlords who wilfully leave their properties fall into disrepair and remain empty should be penalised in this way I would hope that there would also be a common sense element here.
"For example where the person who was responsible for paying the council tax has passed away and a grant of probate or letters of administration has not been made, or where a person has been taken into a care home.
"Empty properties are a blight on many areas of RCT and this Council needs to step up its efforts to bring them back into use."