The Local Government Finance Bill includes provisions that will allow a billing authority to charge an empty homes premium (the Premium) to provide a stronger incentive to get homes back into productive use and remove the blight of such properties on local neighbourhoods.

The Premium was subject to a consultation, Technical Reforms to Council Tax, which ended on 29 December 2011. The Government published its response on 28 May 2012 – which confirmed its intention to proceed with the Premium and stated that it will not be payable until a dwelling has been empty and unfurnished for two years and the maximum premium which an authority will be able to charge will be 50 per cent.

It will be for individual billing authorities to design their own schemes for applying the Premium in their local area. As part of this, they will determine both the circumstances in which it may be charged, and the level at which it will be set. However, the Government believes that there are circumstances where it would be inappropriate for the Premium to apply.

This consultation seeks views on the Government’s proposals on exceptions to the Premium – dwellings which may otherwise be liable for the Premium, but which are subject to circumstances which mean that it would not be appropriate for it to apply.

The consultation document and how to reply is available on the Communities and Local Government website here.

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