A consultation has opened into proposals not to charge landlords who are preparing a property to let or waiting to find a tenant the empty homes a council tax premium.
The government wants to strengthen the existing long-term empty homes premium by applying this to properties that have been empty and unfurnished for at least one year, rather than the current two years.
A new second homes premium will give councils additional resources to help manage the impact of second homes. However, under the proposals, those being actively marketed for let would have a maximum of six months from the date this started, or until the property was rented before being eligible.
A landlord would need to demonstrate they were marketing the property at a reasonable price on the open market.
The government suggests that homes empty for long periods undergoing major repair works or structural alternations should be exempt for up to six months once the exception has been applied or when the work has been completed.
A total exception of up to 12 months might be available where a landlord has done major repair works and then carried out active marketing of the rental property.
Its consultation '� which ends on 31st August '� explains: 'The government believes that where owners are using their best endeavours to bring a property back into productive use, then they should not be penalised through the imposition of the long-term empty homes premium.
'The government recognises that there may be difficult judgements to be made in determining whether steps taken to dispose of the dwelling are genuine.
"However, it does not consider that these challenges are sufficient to count against providing greater protections to those owners who are responding positively to the government's effort to bring more empty properties back into use.'�