Gloucestershire

Gloucester 300% council tax hike plan for empty home owners

Derelict house, generic
Image caption Owners of empty homes in Gloucester could end up paying an increase of 300% in council tax

Empty home owners in Gloucester could face a 300% council tax rise as part of plans to help homeless families move out of temporary accommodation.

Gloucester City Council says there are more than 150 families in temporary accommodation and 353 empty homes.

Under the plans, homes empty for two years or more will see a 50% rise from April, while those empty for more than 10 years will see a 300% hike in 2021.

The authority said it could raise £225,000 a year for services.

The city council would retain £26,756.23 of it while the rest would go to Gloucestershire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Cabinet member, Jennie Watkins said: "Homes that are standing empty not only often attract anti-social behaviour or vandalism but are also often places that could make perfectly good homes for people that are homeless.

"But we do recognise that there might be many reasons why a property is empty, which is why we've proposed introducing the charge gradually to give owners the chance to bring their houses back into use."

She added that support would also be offered to landlords to help them find and retain tenants.

If approved, Gloucester would follow Cheltenham Borough Council, which approved a rise in premium charge last month.

Gloucester City Council's cabinet are expected to approve the increase at their meeting on 9 January.

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