13:47 PM, 7th April 2011, About 10 years ago 1
Homeless charity Shelter is calling for the scrapping of council tax discounts on second homes and property that stands empty.
A new study looking at ways to maximise the use of existing housing reckons ending the discount would raise £42 million a year that councils and the government could divert to improving housing supply. This appears to be another badly considered plan following their controversial video and statistics that yet again give landlords a bad name. What are Shelter playing at? Do they not see that the vast majority of private landlords solve thousand’s more housing problems than a very small percentage of rogue landlords create?
The charity also advocates council tax rates are set higher for second homes and property owners who choose to let homes stand empty.
Shelter says second home ownership has surged since 1990 and now accounts for around 252,000 properties.
The majority are holiday homes (50%) or long-term investments (40%); with 17% purchased with the aim of providing retirement income; 9% rented out by reluctant landlords who had to move but could not sell and 8% are crash-pads for professionals who work too far away from home to commute daily.
Many second homes are in holiday areas, like Cornwall, Norfolk and Cumbria, where some communities claim house prices are not affordable for locals.
Councils can cut council tax for second homeowners by up to 50%.
Shelter Chief Executive Campbell Robb said: “Our housing crisis has never run deeper, with millions on waiting lists and increasing numbers of young people unable to get on the housing ladder in their local area. With government cuts of more than 60% to the budget for new homes, we need to explore every possible way in which existing housing stock can be used to ease our desperate shortage of affordable homes.
“The council tax discount is effectively a tax break for people with second homes which often lie empty for large parts of the year. Enabling councils to respond to local housing pressures and charge the full rate of council tax, or higher, would mean they could raise vital revenue that could be used to deliver affordable housing for local people.”
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