Thursday, 6 December 2012

Council tax discounts to be axed

COUNCIL tax discounts for empty homes are to be scrapped while long-term empty properties will have to pay more from April 1, it has been announced.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has used new powers from the Government to set discounts in a bid to free up empty homes.

Homes which are empty and unfurnished will no longer be freefor up to six months.

Homes undergoing structural or major repairs to make it liveable will no longer be free for up to 12 months. Other discounts will remain.

And homes that have met the above criteria for more than two years will have to pay an extra 50 per cent on the council tax bill.

The council also hopes the move will bring in extra cash to help it cope with a cut in Government cash support for council tax benefit of 10 per cent.

Council leader Ken Meeson said: “By removing certain council tax discounts for empty properties, we can not only offset the shortfall in funding but we can also get homes that might otherwise have fallen into disrepair or become the target of crime back into good use – this is very important for Solihull where the demand for homes is very high.”

Those who get an empty property discount have been contacting and those facing “exceptional hardship” can apply to be exempt.

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