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Extra Council Tax Charge For Empty Scots Homes


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#1 Key Stakeholder

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:59 AM

Wonk-mag "PLANNING"

http://www.planningr.../login/1102116/
Registration required, but here you go:

Scots plan to charge extra for empty homes

By Adam Branson Friday, 04 November 2011

Scottish local authorities would be able to charge up to twice the usual rate of council tax on properties that have lain empty for more than six months and use the money to build affordable homes under proposals unveiled by the country's housing minister.

Under the plans put forward by Alex Neil, councils would also be required to demand that home owners pay council tax in full after their properties have been empty for more than six months.

At present, owners pay no council tax for the first six months that their property is left empty. After six months, they start paying council tax, but at a discount of ten to 50 per cent, depending on the policies of the local authority.

Neil said that, if all local authorities decided to use the proposed powers to charge twice the standard rate of council tax on empty homes, it could bring in an additional £30 million each year, which he said would be used for the construction of affordable homes.

Neil said: "Although the public purse is under huge strain, the Scottish government is doing all it can to increase the supply of affordable housing across the country. One way to do this is to tackle the problem of empty homes, which are a wasted resource and are often also a blight on local communities as they attract vandalism."

A consultation on the proposals runs until 10 January.


Dry-as-sticks ScotGov material here:

http://www.scotland....1/10/17105007/0

Overview of what the Scottish Government is proposing

While the great majority of Councils have reduced the level of Council Tax discount provided for long-term empty properties, the reduced discounts on their own do not seem to have provided a sufficient incentive for most owners who did not otherwise plan to make their home available; in fact, data suggests that the number of long- term empty homes in Scotland has increased slightly in recent years.

We propose to bring forward legislation to the Scottish Parliament which would give Scottish Councils the extra flexibility to increase the amount of Council Tax charged on long-term empty homes. This flexibility will help Councils, particularly in areas with high levels of need for affordable or market housing. It is expected both to encourage home owners to bring their properties back into use – either for rent or for sale – and to raise additional revenue to fund affordable housing in their area.

We propose that the legislation should allow Councils both to no longer provide any discount for long-term empty homes and, in addition, to apply an excess charge (or ‘levy’) of up to 100% of the standard Council Tax rate for homes that are unoccupied long-term. This means that owners of these empty properties could be charged up to double the rate payable by home owners paying the standard rate.
[...]
Bringing long-term empty properties back into use would increase the number of homes available in a local area, contribute to area and town centre regeneration, discourage antisocial behaviour and help sustain rural communities.


My thirst for justice would have been slaked by an end to discounts for empty homes. An excess charge, IMHO, is unjustly punitive.

Get yourself over and fill in the consultation online form:

http://www.scotland....nciltaxltep.asp

Participative democracy. You gotta love it!

#2 blackgoose

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:25 AM

Wow. That is great - should help to release some more empty houses into the market to be used by people again.

I just wish that they would do the same thing in England.

#3 Gone baby gone

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 12:24 PM

I'm loving this! B)

Let's get some of that empty property moving. We have a housing shortage and there isn't a lot of building going on. Housing is a precious resource, and using the tax system to try and encourage efficient use of it is the way to go.

#4 WageslaveX14

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 01:06 PM

So how will councils know that houses are empty?

If you get a council tax discount, this gives you the motivation to register your house as empty. If you have to pay extra council tax on an empty home, why would anyone register it as empty?

Would councils then opt for using surveillance to check if homes are empty? How unpleasant and expensive would that be? Why am I asking so many questions?

#5 Key Stakeholder

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 02:13 PM

So how will councils know that houses are empty?


Via the already-existing army of crowdsource-enabled volunteer busybodies?

http://reportemptyhomes.com/

Oooh! It's that "big society" in action! :-)

#6 Travisher

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 05:02 PM

Via the already-existing army of crowdsource-enabled volunteer busybodies?

http://reportemptyhomes.com/

Oooh! It's that "big society" in action! :-)


The Nazis and the Stazi would recognise this as one of their own. Shelter used to be an honourable charity before it became big business.
Scenario;
So my granny goes into a care home and I struggle to sort out her affairs and prepare to sell her home, this takes time, lots of it since it involves lawyers and senility. Meanwhile some nasty sneak dobs me up to the housing police who steal what little income granny has in her pension after the government and care home have pocketed most of it.

Big society? Excuse me a moment while I'm digging up that AK47 from its hiding place.

#7 Gone baby gone

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:40 PM

The Nazis and the Stazi would recognise this as one of their own. Shelter used to be an honourable charity before it became big business.
Scenario;
So my granny goes into a care home and I struggle to sort out her affairs and prepare to sell her home, this takes time, lots of it since it involves lawyers and senility. Meanwhile some nasty sneak dobs me up to the housing police who steal what little income granny has in her pension after the government and care home have pocketed most of it.

Big society? Excuse me a moment while I'm digging up that AK47 from its hiding place.



Sounds like you've got multiple homes and some of them are empty ... This is gonna sting!!

#8 Gone baby gone

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:43 PM

Via the already-existing army of crowdsource-enabled volunteer busybodies?

http://reportemptyhomes.com/

Oooh! It's that "big society" in action! :-)


Great site! I've just reported a few in my street.

I'm going to drop the council a letter about it as well, just to make sure the message gets through B)

#9 Key Stakeholder

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:02 PM

Aberdeen City Council have signalled their reluctance to implement any such measure.

#10 Jadoube

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 02:05 PM

The Nazis and the Stazi would recognise this as one of their own. Shelter used to be an honourable charity before it became big business.
Scenario;
So my granny goes into a care home and I struggle to sort out her affairs and prepare to sell her home, this takes time, lots of it since it involves lawyers and senility. Meanwhile some nasty sneak dobs me up to the housing police who steal what little income granny has in her pension after the government and care home have pocketed most of it.

Big society? Excuse me a moment while I'm digging up that AK47 from its hiding place.



No reason you can't sell it, or that it should take an excessive amount of time - unless you ask more than the correct market price. It doesn't have to take a lot of time if you're organised and you require the lawyer to be organised.

Good incentive to sort out granny's affairs promptly. (And after all granny benefits from prompt action, why would you want otherwise?)
The silent majority have exactly the same views as me.
They're so silent nobody else realises they exist.
When they all speak out my views will rule the world.

#11 abroad

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:52 AM

Just been through this scenario myself. Two family members lived in my old flat which I'd 'gifted' to one of them when I moved abroad and they subsequently willed it back to me. Flat is owned outright so no mortgage or other complications. Relative who now 'owned' the flat died in Feb. As the flat was willed to me I automatically get 6 months from legal transfer(not date of death) without liability for Council Tax, as long as its empty.

Flat wasnt empty as second relative lived there(paying Council Tax) but sadly only survived 4 months after the first one passed away. The flat passed back to me before the second one died and as a result I lost the 6 month window as the flat was occupied at some time after it became my property. Its all pretty complex and not quite as simple as sell granny's flat quickly...... rules are still that you pay 50% of normal amount.

How you would impose a penalty for non/limited occupation would seem to be far from simple.

Edited by abroad, 22 November 2011 - 11:57 AM.


#12 Key Stakeholder

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:16 AM

Yes, if it's any sort of administrative challenge at all it'd be better not to implement this measure. Particularly if it affects me. ;-)

#13 abroad

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:28 AM

Yes, if it's any sort of administrative challenge at all it'd be better not to implement this measure. Particularly if it affects me. ;-)



No no far better to employ an army of inspectors to make sure that houses remain occupied for a sufficient quota of the time.......good news is that my local council have said that if house is unfurnished and unoccupied then its 100% off not 50%...... :lol:

#14 Key Stakeholder

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:54 PM

How nice that you should be subsidised by taxpayers. Well done.

#15 abroad

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 01:47 PM

I'm subsidised by no one. You know bugger all about my financial affairs in the UK or elsewhere. Nice to see that edge of general resentment is still out there though, reminds me why I spend most of my time abroad :ph34r:

I do find this idea of being charged extra for not consuming something quite a bizarre concept.........however each to their own.

So from your high horse...how do you impose and police a penalty on folks not being there ? What does not being there actually mean ? Are you saying there should be a limit of 1 house per person ? or per family or what ? Lets see your image of how it should be done.

Edited by abroad, 25 November 2011 - 01:53 PM.





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