Additional charges for Welwyn Hatfield landlords set to rise
PUBLISHED: 06:48 15 February 2019
The additional charges landlords have to pay if their property stands empty is set to rise in Welwyn Hatfield - in a bid to bring more homes back into use.
Currently owners of properties that have been empty for two years or more have to pay an additional ’empty home premium’ that’s the equivalent to 50 per cent of the property’s council tax charge.
But at a meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Council on Monday (February 4), councillors backed plans to increase that premium for long-term empty properties to 100 per cent, from April 1.
So that now means they will pay twice as much – in council tax and empty homes premium – as they would if the property was lived in.
From April 2020 the council also agreed that landlords will have to pay a premium that’s the equivalent to 200 per cent of the council tax charge if the property has been empty for five years.
From April 2021 they agreed to a higher premium – equivalent to 300 per cent of the council tax charge – for any property that has been empty for 10 years or more.
According to the council the number of empty properties in the borough has dropped from 72 to 52 since the empty homes premium was introduced in 2013.
It is hoped that by increasing the premium – in line with new legislation – they will encourage landlords to bring long-term empty properties back into use and increase the local housing supply.
It would, says the report to council , also provide some additional Council Tax income.
At the Council meeting on Monday (February 4) executive member for resources Duncan Bell, who represents the Hatfield Villages ward, said: “Since 2013 we have been able to levy a council tax premium of 50 per cent on homes left empty for two years or more and the number of long term empty homes has since fallen from 72 to 52, perhaps indicating that the use o the premium does incentivise landlords to bring homes back into use, which can only be good.
“Taking advantage of the new legislation […] will help us to bring further homes back into use at a time of housing shortages and will provide in some additional council tax income […].”