Council tax hike for empty home owners

An empty property above Ladbrokes on Leyland Lane
An empty property above Ladbrokes on Leyland Lane

Owners of long-term empty properties are to be slapped with a dramatic hike in their council tax bills - if they don’t act quickly to bring homes back into use.

South Ribble Council has announced it will increase charges by 150 per cent on those properties currently subject to a council tax discount.

It comes a few months after the council adopted its Empty Homes Policy, allowing it to take action on properties which have been vacant for a certain period of time.

Last night, the cabinet committee voted through an extension of the policy, to target owners of long-term empty properties with a significant council tax increase.

It means owners who have not made attempts to bring homes back into use after two years will face charges higher than those applying to occupied households.

Coun Cliff Hughes, cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, said: “This is taking the policy we adopted in September a step forward, with a proposal to amend the council tax discount to encourage owners to bring the properties back into use.”

The changes will take effect from April, and almost 600 properties in South Ribble are expected to be affected.

- For more on this story, see next week’s Leyland Guardian