Owners of empty houses in Hastings could face a doubling of their council tax if the borough council uses new government rules to their fullest extent.
If approved, the charge which is being considered as part of the council’s 2019/20 budget, would apply to properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years. In 2018 there were 1,334 empty properties in Hastings that fell within the criteria, up from 1,112 in 2017.
Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council said this week: “We have used compulsory purchase as a way to bring homes that have been left empty the longest back into use but we have a housing shortage in this town and there are still too many properties left empty. These new punitive council tax charges will work alongside our compulsory purchase programme to make sure empty homes are brought back into use.”
The charge could then increase further to 200 per cent levy for properties left empty for more than five years from April of next year, 2020/2021 and again to 300 per cent levy for properties left empty for more than ten years from 2021/2022.