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Landlords reprieved from new empty homes crackdown

empty property

Landlords who are preparing a property to let or waiting to find a tenant will get a reprieve from empty homes council tax premiums.

The government has announced new rules that will see those with long-term empty properties paying double council tax after a year from 1st April, in a bid to help people find affordable housing. The new rules will apply when a property has been empty for 12 months, rather than the current two years. Councils will also be given new powers to introduce the tax premium on second homes in their area from next year.

The Department for Levelling Up says there will be a 12-month exception to both the empty and second home premiums to properties that are actively marketed for sale or let.


For empty homes premium, the property would have to be unfurnished and empty for 12 months for the premium to apply. Therefore, landlords would already have 12 months to sell/let the property, however, if the empty property takes longer than this period, then landlords can make use of this exception.

This exception will provide protections for landlords whose rental property may become empty in-between lets or have a gap between tenancy agreements. It also covers properties where an offer to rent has been accepted but the tenant is not yet entitled to occupy the property.

Interest-free loans

Timothy Douglas, head of Propertymark’s policy and campaigns, (pictured right) believes it would be more effective to introduce a dedicated grant scheme alongside other incentives such as interest-free loans and a first-time buyer’s grant to support people to bring empty property back into use, rather than penalising them through higher council tax premiums until they do so.

He adds: “Where a similar policy has been introduced in Wales, we are yet to see a positive impact so policymakers must do more to fully understand the causes of why homes are left empty.”  


Council tax
Department of levelling up