Owners of empty properties in West Norfolk could see a difference in their council tax bills this year as a result of changes being brought in to encourage people to bring empty properties back into use.
The key changes are:
For empty and unfurnished properties, a 100% discount will now be available for three months, instead of 6 months, after which the full amount of council tax is payable.
For uninhabitable properties a 50% discount is available for 12 months (previously 100% discount). After 12 months the full amount of council tax is payable.
Full council tax will now be due on long term empty properties as the 50% discount has been withdrawn. 150% council tax will have to be paid for any property that remains empty for more than 2 years, adding a 50% levy to the current arrangement.
Cllr Nick Daubney confirmed: “The regulations have been amended enabling us to bring in these changes, and we think it is absolutely right to reduce council tax discounts on empty properties in order to encourage the owners to bring the properties back into use. We are happy to assist landlords and property owners with advice and guidance to help them achieve this goal.”
People with second homes in the borough will also see an increase in their council tax bill, with their discount reducing to 5%.
Council tax bills for April 2013 to March 2014, will be sent out later this month, and will detail any changes applicable.
For further information, visit www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/yourbill, or call the Council Information Centre on 01553 616200.
Advice about bringing empty homes back into use is available by visiting www.west-norfolk.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=24198.
The council tax benefit scheme, run by the Government, has been scrapped and instead local councils have been tasked with implementing their own local council tax support scheme. For the year April 2013 - March 2014, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk has adopted a scheme which follows the same rules as the old council tax benefit scheme, so there will be no noticeable change for this year, and existing claims will automatically be transferred to the new scheme.