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Council tax premium scheme for second homes and long-term empty properties

Published: 16/09/2021

At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 21 September, Cabinet members will be asked to consider reviewing the level of the council tax premium charged on second homes and long-term empty properties, currently set at 50%.

In April 2017 the Council introduced a scheme to raise a premium of 50% on both second homes and long-term empty properties to encourage owners to bring them back into use.  Since then, the Council has decided each year to continue with the scheme but with no change to the premium levels.  

There are currently 772 properties subject to the 50% premium charge, consisting of 605 long term empty properties and 167 second homes – at a time when there is a national housing shortage.  

This is a contentious national issue with calls to make second-home owning less attractive – through the setting of premiums - in areas where there is a local housing shortage. Welsh local authorities currently apply premiums ranging from 25% to 100%.

A review would consider:

  • Whether the premium should be reduced, remain the same or be increased and to what percentage levels?
  • Whether the premium level should remain the same for both long term empty properties and second homes or should different percentage rates apply?

Flintshire’s Deputy Leader (Governance) and Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Assets, Councillor Billy Mullin, said:

“Solving housing problems and meeting demand is a complex issue involving national and local governments.  A review of the current council tax premium would not be the ‘silver bullet’ to resolving local demand for affordable housing – but it could be one of a range of measures to incentivise owners to return currently empty properties to use.

“The premium scheme provides additional Council Tax income to meet the demand on services or to use any additional revenue generated to help meet local housing needs.”

With the current premium level set at 50% for long term properties and second homes, £649k of additional income is generated annually through the premium scheme (£509k for long-term empty and £140k for second homes).

The review would consider the impacts of any change in premium and the Council would ensure that there was a public consultation before any recommendations were brought back to Cabinet.