Council tax hike planned for second homes and empty houses

Second home owners in East Devon will have their council tax doubled if planned Government legislation goes ahead. 

 “In East Devon we have a shortage of properties to enable people to rent or potentially purchase and stay and live/work in the area. 

 “If this change frees up empty properties to come onto the rental or purchase market then I and my cabinet colleagues welcome that.” 

(Bearing in mind that only seven per cent of that increase would go directly to EDDC as the bulk (73 per cent) would go to Devon County Council and the remainder to the police and fire service.) – Cllr Jack Rowland

Philippa Davies www.sidmouthherald.co.uk

Under the plans by East Devon District Council (EDDC) the owners of empty houses will also be charged double rates after just one year of non-occupation, instead of two. 

The proposals were agreed by the district council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, January 4, with the final decision to be made at the next full council meeting on Wednesday, February 22. The aim is to introduce the extra charges in April next year. 

The changes are subject to the Government signing off the relevant legislation under its Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. 

District councillors are supporting the charges to encourage owners to bring empty homes back into use for the local community. 

The higher tax could also help make up for the money lost through reductions in council tax for lower income households. 

Councillor Jack Rowland, EDDC’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “This change, if the parliamentary bill receives approval and full council accept the cabinet recommendation next month, would be effective from April 2024 so the people affected by the change will have a full year’s notice of the change. 

 “In East Devon we have a shortage of properties to enable people to rent or potentially purchase and stay and live/work in the area. 

 “If this change frees up empty properties to come onto the rental or purchase market then I and my cabinet colleagues welcome that. 

“Where the people affected by this change may still choose to keep the property empty or as a second home, then the additional council tax they would have to pay will help ensure the current services provided by EDDC will be maintained, bearing in mind that only seven per cent of that increase would go directly to EDDC as the bulk (73 per cent) would go to Devon County Council and the remainder to the police and fire service.” 

The full Cabinet report can be found on EDDC’s website

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