Landlords and empty property owners can bring their empty properties back to life and avoid an increase in Council tax from April 1.
Calderdale councillors approved changes to Council tax discounts and introduced an empty homes premium.
Landlords now have a small period of time in between tenants before Council tax has to be paid.
At the same time, owners of homes empty for more than two years will be subject to a premium rate of 150 per cent Council tax.
For example, if you are the owner of a band A property which isn’t being occupied, you will be charged £1,444.36 instead of the normal annual rate of £962.89.
With effect from April 1 2014 the following changes will apply:
A temporary 30 day exemption from Council tax for all property owners if their property becomes empty.
Properties empty more than two years will have a Council tax charge of 100 per cent plus an additional empty homes premium of 50 per cent.
Buyers of long term empty homes will be able to apply for a repayment of the empty homes premium they have paid between the purchase date and the date it becomes occupied, if this happens within a year, and
A temporary exemption for six months from Council tax for victims of flood and fire will apply if the property is classed as being uninhabitable and reasonable efforts are made promptly to bring it back into use
There are currently 823 empty homes which will be affected by the empty homes premium.
All owners will be contacted in writing, advised of the changes and offered information and advice to help them bring their empty homes back into use.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Councillor Barry Collins said: “The Council understands that landlords need a little time to find a new tenant for their property and doesn’t want to penalise them for taking time to carry out improvements and necessary checks.
“However, a clear message needs to be sent that it isn’t acceptable to own a home that no one has occupied for years.
“It’s not good for the neighbours, the community and ultimately not good for the owner.”
Empty properties can create extra work for Council staff, police and fire services. Staff from various organisations have to spend a great deal of their time sorting out problems due to properties being left empty and the premium will go some way to reimburse this cost.
If you have just bought an empty property, which has been empty more than two years, you can apply for a refund of the empty homes premium if you occupy the property within 12 months of purchase.
For more information about the 30 day Council tax exemption or about the new Council tax premium, visit the empty housing pages on the Calderdale Council website www.calderdale.gov.uk or call 0845 245 6000.