Burnley Council declares war on empty properties with huge council tax increases

Burnley Council is considering increasing council tax for long-term empty homes
Burnley Council is considering increasing council tax for long-term empty homes

Burnley Council is considering changes to the way it charges council tax on long-term empty properties to encourage owners to bring them back into use.

A report to the council's Executive Committee, which meets next Tuesday, recommends the premiums charged on long-term vacant houses - over and above the usual rate - should be increased as follows:

• From April 2020 properties empty for more than five years should pay a 200% premium ie three times the normal council tax charge. Based on current figures 180 properties would be affected.

• From April 2021 houses empty for more than 10 years should pay a 300% premium ie four times the usual rate (46 properties would be affected).

The council currently charges a 100% premium on properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years.

Coun. Margaret Lishman, the council's Executive member for resources and performance management, said: "These proposals are part of wider moves to reduce the number of long-term empty properties across our borough.

"In some cases these attract vandalism and other anti-social behaviour and bring down the area around them, causing problems for neighbours and the wider community.

"We want to encourage owners to bring these long-term vacant houses back into use and this is just another tool to help achieve that aim. It's not about generating revenue."

Any changes would have to go to a meeting of the full council for final approval.