Owners of empty properties in Birmingham could face big council tax hike

Homeowners in Birmingham whose properties have been empty for more than five years may have to pay triple the normal council tax as part of an effort to get as many empty homes into use as possible. 

Birmingham has a need for 89,000 new homes in the next two decades and one way that the council wants to achieve this is by getting empty homes back into use.

The report, which is due before Cabinet tomorrow (January 21), reveals that 2,257 homes are set to be affected by the increased tax.

Under the original 50% increase which has been in place since 2013, the council generated around £1.15m by 2019.

By next year, it is anticipated that an additional £0.5m will be generated with the introduction of the 200% increase.

Cllr Tristan Chatfield, a cabinet member for finance and resources, said: ‘We have a housing crisis, locally, regionally and nationally.

‘Local councils have suffered a decade of funding cuts that have made it increasingly difficult for us to meet the needs and expectations of every citizen, but this proposed policy is one way in which we can partially redress the balance, by incentivising property owners who are sitting on homes with no obvious intended use to get them back into circulation for people that are in need of a roof over their heads.

‘For those who don’t take any action, we will be in a position to bill them and use the income that is generated on the services that people desperately need on a day-to-day basis.

‘I hope that this policy strikes a good balance and sees more homes come back into use.’

In December last year (2019), Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) were completed on seven empty properties across Birmingham, which meant that the council could bring these properties back into use as family homes.

The council’s private sector empty property team works with owners in Birmingham to understand why these houses are lying empty, and then they encourage and educate the owners to do otherwise.

Where this fails, as a last resort the councils can use the CPO powers to bring the property back as a family home, this is part of their aim to bring back into use one empty home every day.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill


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