The Morecambe & Lunesdale MP David Morris has written to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Local Government Brandon Lewis MP, asking him to rethink the decision that the owners of empty homes will be charged Council Tax.
Brandon Lewis MP confirmed to the House of Commons:
“Since 1 April 2013 council tax empty property exemptions classes A and C were abolished and authorities will have decided what level of council tax to charge. The Department does not hold information on the levels of council tax authorities now charge on empty property.
These reforms will help get empty homes back into productive use and help keep overall council tax bills down for hardworking families and pensioners.”
David Morris MP believes that the decision amounts to 150% Council tax, for the owners of empty properties, adding, that it gives failing Councils the gift of increasing Council Tax, without any criteria, other than the fact that houses must be empty. David Morris added that the measure is likely to discriminate against landlords who do not have tenants in their property.
In a letter to Brandon Lewis MP, David Morris MP writes:
“I can understand that we have to utilise empty homes but we can’t force home owners who have taken out second mortgages to let out these homes at a subsidised rate to try to fill them. “
“Surely experience of putting business rates on empty commercial premises must have taught that this approach is deeply damaging. That’s because it assumes owners do not wish to use these properties to create an income? The outcome as an owner of commercial property I can assure you that this is not the case and has been deeply damaging to the commercial property sector. I shudder at the thought of the same mistakes being made in residential property.”
“To give failing councils the gift of increasing council tax to this rate without any criteria from central government (other than they have to be empty) is sheer madness. We should be taking the lead in formulating guidelines to what constitutes a fair tariff of dilapidated homes which are causing councils problems and those that have to be identified as a burden to the council.”