Individuals who own empty properties in Angus, Scotland could soon face higher levels of tax following the announcement of new plans to impose empty home charges by Angus Council.
The local authority is attempting to clamp down on the number of unoccupied homes across its area and believes hitting owners in the pocket is one of the best ways to do this.
Issues that can arise due to a large number of empty homes in an area include an increased likelihood of antisocial behaviour, a growth in fly tipping, vandalism and the potential for squatters to move in.
As a result, the council is keen to disincentivise owners leaving their property unoccupied for any lengthy period and so have discussed a change in policy that will see the existing ten per cent council tax discount for empty properties scrapped in the near future, or potentially empty home charges.
In addition, council officials could also go much further in a bid to bring down the region’s large number of empty homes, with current proposals for a doubling of council tax on long-term empty homes being discussed.
There are a range of benefits associated with bringing long-term empty homes back into full-time use, both for local communities and the property’s owner.
A range of schemes have now been launched across the country to help bring as many currently empty properties back into use, including the provision of council-funded loans to homeowners to carry out renovations and repairs that would bring these properties back up to an acceptable living standard.
According to figures from Angus Council, a typical two-bedroom home that is renovated and made available for rent could generate £7,000 for the owner per year – providing a considerable financial incentive to having such work carried out.
Moreover, tackling the problem of empty properties will help to address the ongoing crisis in terms of available and suitable housing that continues to pervade many areas of the UK, while bringing more homes back into full-time use can also help to address issues of vandalism in an area.
At present, Angus Council is considering proposals for empty home charges, with potential costs for owners to stand at between £988 and £2,965 depending on the property’s banding.
It is a bold move by the local authority and one that could alienate some owners. However, it is a stance that will be applauded by those currently living in areas where empty homes are a considerable problem, as this is likely to attract additional investment in renovations to make the area as a whole a much nicer and more welcoming place to live.
Overall, the council has now received £120,000 in funding under the Scottish government’s ongoing Empty Homes Loan Fund, with this money available to property owners who wish to bring their property back into use.
Individuals considering leaving their property unoccupied for an extended period should look into the deals offered by our expert team at GSI Insurance Services (Southern) Limited regarding unoccupied building insurance.