Council asks public about action on empty homes
THE Vale of Glamorgan Council is asking the public for their views as it looks to tackle the issue of empty homes in the County.
At a time when the need for housing is greater than ever, it is important to ensure that as many homes as possible are brought back to beneficial use.
This would help the Council provide safe, secure and affordable homes, which are much in demand.
Homes left unoccupied for long periods are a drain on the Council’s resources at a time when budgets are tighter than ever.
There is a cost to dealing with complaints relating to their condition and the emergency repairs that often need to be carried out.
With this in mind, raising the amount of Council Tax charged to second and unoccupied homes is being considered, with four options put to residents in a public consultation.
The first would see the rate of Council Tax for these properties stay the same, the second would see it double, it would triple under the third proposal and quadruple with the fourth.
Cllr Lis Burnett, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “We need to ensure that as many houses as possible are in beneficial use, especially at a time when those in need of housing are waiting for long periods of time. Having a large number of long-term empty properties is not sustainable in this context and, in addition, represents an unnecessary expense to the Council.
“Against the backdrop of unprecedented financial strain across Local Government, this extra income would help the Council address the significant funding gap it is facing.
“It is also hoped that increasing Council Tax can motivate some owners who have neglected their properties into action.”
The consultation launched on Monday and can be found on the Council website.
The most appropriate time to introduce any potential premiums is also being considered.
For long-term unoccupied homes, April 2023 or 2024 are possible dates, with April 2024 or 2025 suggested for second homes.
The Council currently operates a loan scheme targeted at empty homes on behalf of Welsh Government.
As part of the budget-setting process, the Authority is also looking at possible partnership schemes with Welsh Government to help assist those with empty private sector homes and bring them back into use.