Day: 30 August 2014

Shropshire Council is consulting on its Empty Homes Strategy (closes 20 September). The number of empty homes in Shropshire is higher than the national average and the number of long term empty homes in the county is increasing. That’s a worrying at a time when we have a housing crisis across the nation. It is worth noting that statistics in this field are difficult to compile accurately [1]. Councils rely on council tax records and local reports. Now that penal council tax rates are imposed on owners of empty homes, it is likely that some owners will find ways to ensure empty dwellings appear occupied. For example, a property that is unoccupied but remains furnished will not attract penal rates here in Shropshire and many other local authorities. Here’s how it works in Shropshire Council’s patch. A property that becomes unoccupied and unfurnished receives a one month exemption from council tax. After that the owner gets a 25% discount for five months. The full rate then kicks in. Once two years have passed, any properties that remain unoccupied and unfurnished pay 150% council tax. It’s a good regime and the number of recorded empty homes overall is falling. But Shropshire…

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