OWNERS of empty homes in Rugby are being encouraged to bring them back into use – or risk paying double the amount of Council Tax.
Residents are being asked to tell Rugby Borough Council about vacant properties during National Empty Homes Week, which highlights the need to bring them back into use and tackle their potential negative impact on neighbourhoods.
Since 2019, property owners in Rugby have to pay Council Tax on an empty home from the date it became vacant.
With the exception of exempted properties, all empty homes – including those undergoing structural repairs – are now charged the full rate of Council Tax, with no discounts allowed.
And if the property is still empty after two years, the council will double the charge.
Coun Emma Crane, the council’s homes and communities spokeswoman, said: “Empty properties can blight neighbourhoods and are a wasted resource.
“There is a huge demand for good quality housing and it is imperative that we can get as many homes as possible back into use to give residents a home.
“While we cannot always compel a property owner to bring a home back into use, we can charge a higher rate of council tax on empty properties – and in some cases can take enforcement action.”
Where an empty property is causing a public nuisance or is insecure, the council can ask the owner to take steps to address the nuisance and secure the property. If they do not, the council can take enforcement action if there are reasonable grounds to do so.
Where action is required but is not undertaken by the owner, the council can consider further proceedings in some cases. This can include undertaking works directly and placing a charge on the owners or the property.
Call (01788) 533533 or email [email protected] to report an empty property.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/info/20011/council_tax/3 for information on properties exempt from council tax.