Residents are being asked to share their views on whether Monmouthshire County Council should charge a council tax premium to people who own long-term empty properties and second homes in the county.
A consultation has now been launched following an agreement by the council’s Cabinet to explore this. The legislation, which has been in place since 2017, allows councils in Wales to charge a premium of up to 300% (100% prior to April 2023) on top of the standard rate of council tax, on long-term empty properties and second homes.
The proposals come as Monmouthshire currently faces extremely high levels of homelessness with a large amount of the Council’s finances dedicated to providing short-term emergency accommodation. In line with Welsh Government guidance, the council is able to retain any additional revenue generated from these premiums to help bring long-term empty properties back into use to provide safe, secure and affordable homes and to help to increase the supply of affordable housing and enhance the sustainability of local communities. With the objective of the premium to provide an incentive for encouraging occupation.
Cllr Rachel Garrick, Cabinet Member for Resources said: “Given the unprecedented financial challenges we are facing as a local authority exploring every possible revenue stream is vital to ensure our services are not severely impacted in the coming years. While Monmouthshire County Council has not previously sought to bring in this premium on council tax, we cannot leave any rock unturned while we navigate the financial challenges we are being exposed to. The public’s views are integral to our decision making and that’s why this consultation is important. If you have a view on this proposition, please make sure you take part in the consultation.”
Cllr Garrick added: “The potential benefits to this proposed premium on council tax is two-fold in the aim that it may encourage owners of empty dwellings to bring them back into use, helping to tackle the current housing shortage.”
If introduced the earliest the council could charge a council tax premium would be from the 1st April 2024 for the 2024/25 financial year. If approved the council will seek to notify all rate payers affected by the premium to give them as much advance notice of the change as possible.
Further information on the proposals can be found at https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/council-tax-premiums-consultation2023/. Views must be submitted by 16th February by completing an online form which can be found on this page of the council’s website.