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Consultation proposed to increase council tax for long term empty properties

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet will meet next week (15 November) to discuss the start of a consultation process about increasing the council tax charge for long term empty properties.

The proposal would help to bring empty homes back into use to provide safe, secure and affordable homes and would also support the council to improve the sustainability of local communities.

A long-term empty property is defined as a place of residence, which is both unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year.

If approved, the plans would likely be in place for the 2023-24 financial year, which would give the council time to make sure residents are aware of this change.

The Council would write to each homeowner, once a decision is made, to advise them of the forthcoming change providing as much advance notice as possible.

As of October 2022, the latest data shows there are 701 long-term empty properties in the county borough. Out of the above total, 275 properties have been vacant for over five years.

In line with Welsh Government guidance, the local authority is allowed to retain any additional funds generated by implementing the premium. Authorities are encouraged to use any additional revenue to help meet local housing needs.

It is proposed that there should be a 4-week consultation period, which will include the Council writing directly to the owner of every empty property to invite their feedback.

The results of the consultation would then be presented to Cabinet in due course.

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