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Councils given power to double council tax on empty homes

Councils will be allowed to double the rate of council tax on long-term empty properties under new legislation announced today.

Under the new legislation, councils will be allowed to levy additional charges on homes standing empty for two years or more.

Local government minister, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘This new power will equip councils with the tools they need to encourage owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use – and at the same time tackle the harmful effect they have on communities through squatting, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.’

There are currently just over 200,000 long-term empty dwellings in England, down from 300,000 in 2010. Most councils already apply a 50% premium on long-term empty homes.