Posted: Fri 23rd Feb 2024

Merthyr Tydfil Continues Higher Council Tax on Empty Properties and Second Homes /
This article is old - Published: Friday, Feb 23rd, 2024

Higher council tax for long term empty properties in Merthyr Tydfil is to continue next year with premiums for second homes too.
Full council on Wednesday, February 21, agreed that the council continued charging a council tax premium of 100% on long-term empty properties that had been vacant more than 12 months and that it charged a premium of 100% on second homes from April, 2024.
It also agreed to introduce a local council tax exception to help new owners of properties undergoing renovation.
In 2023/2024, figures show the council is expected to raise £338,613 from the premium on long term empty homes and, when taking into account the £40,000 spend on a revenue inspector, this figure became £298,613.
When the premium for second homes comes in this April, the income from both premiums is set to be £599,680 with second homes contributing £301,067 towards this both next year (2024/2025) and the year after (2025/2026) and £40,000 continuing to go on the revenue inspector role.
Figures in a council report show that there are currently 326 long term empty properties (empty for a year or more) in Merthyr Tydfil which, based on a collection rate of 100%, would generate additional revenue of £483,733.
There are currently 266 second homes in the county borough and with the premium, based on a collection rate of 100%, they would generate additional revenue of £430,096 in 2024/2025.
The report said that, as of January 25 this year, there were a total of 902 empty and unfurnished properties in Merthyr Tydfil of which 498  had been empty from more than six months to more than 20 years.
The report said: “Whilst the new legislation allows for a maximum 300% council tax premium, this local authority is currently exercising its discretion not to go to this level at this time.
“We are well aware of the impact that long-term empty properties and second homes have within our communities and the decision to charge a premium on these properties to encourage owners to bring them back into use is a correct one.
“However, the level that a council tax premium is set to, has to be balanced against the adverse impact on the local authority’s collection rate and it is to this end that this current level is proposed.”
Councillor Anna Williams-Price said she was pleased to see this report as residents had raised issues around second homes and AirBnBs, concerned that this was reducing the supply of housing.
She also welcomed the additional income it would bring in which would benefit residents.
The leader of the council, Councillor Geraint Thomas, said there had been “sterling work” in bringing in revenue and that all councillors had problems with long term empty properties in their wards.
Councillor Gareth Richards said it was having an effect as there were some properties in his area that had been renovated as a result. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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