EAST Hampshire District Council is attempting to bring empty homes back into use by imposing extra council tax charges on their owners.
The levels of Council Tax Empty Homes Premium were agreed unanimously by the full council on January 16.
From April 1, 2020, a 100 per cent premium will be charged on top of the full council tax for a home that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for between two and five years. Homes unoccupied for more than five years will be charged a 200 per cent premium.
On April 1, 2021, the extra charges will rise for homes left empty for the longest periods.
The 100 per cent premium will still apply to those empty for two to five years, but the 200 per cent premium will cover only those vacant for five to ten years. Homes empty for more than a decade will face a 300 per cent premium.
The private sector housing team will tell owners about the premiums and encourage them to avoid paying by moving people in.
Finance portfolio holder Cllr Charles Louisson said the district had 93 private homes empty for two to five years, 18 for five to ten years and 13 for more than ten years.
He said the premium would be “quite a small revenue raiser” – it is expected to bring in £11,000 in 2020–21 and £13,000 in 2021–22 – and added: “We don’t want to get this money – the primary focus is getting these properties back into use.”