Agenda item

Determination of the length of time allowed before a council tax premium is payable in respect of empty properties

Report of the Director of Environment and Resident Experience. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Local Investment.


Reducing the period before the premium on empty property is applied from two years to one year in accordance with the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023. This decision will further progress to Full Council for adoption.


The Cabinet Member for Finance and Local Investment introduced the report which set out the proposed reduction in time that a property can remain empty before the premium on Council Tax is charged on long-term empty dwellings.


The additional 100% council tax charge on properties that have been empty for more than one year was designed to encourage owners to act with urgency and ensure that empty buildings are brought into use in a timely manner. 


In response to questions from Cllr Arkell and Cllr Hakata, the following was noted:


-      This was one of the policies and powers that the Council was using to bring empty homes back into use. Where properties were empty for a considerable period of time, there was legal intervention undertaken to take possession of those properties. This was more of a complicated process but still taken forward, in line with the Council commitment to bring as much housing into use for families as possible.

-      It was estimated that in London there were about 34,000 long term empty dwellings, and in Haringey probably more than 1000. The proposed new policy reduced the timescale from two years empty dwelling to one-year empty dwelling and would enable more properties to fall into this category, meaning more ability to take action.

-      The Council Tax team were developing a mechanism so that residents can report empty properties through the website and officers would work with communications team on publicity to make sure people are aware of that.




To recommend to Full Council that


  1. With effect from 1 April 2024, that a determination be made that a premium shall be applied to long term empty dwellings as defined in s11B(8) of Local Government Finance Act (LGFA) 1992 (as amended from time to time), and that the amount of council tax payable in respect of that dwelling and that day shall be increased by 100 percent.


  1. That a determination be made that, if on any day a dwelling is a long-term

empty dwelling, the discount in s11(2)(a) of LGFA shall not apply to that



  1. Notes that until 1 April 2024, the decision made by Full Council in January

2019 in relation to the premium payable in respect of long-term empty

dwellings, shall continue in full force and effect.


  1. Notes that the premium shall not apply to dwellings that are exempt under

Regulations 9 and 10 of the Council Tax (Prescribed Classes of Dwellings)

(England) Regulations 2003.


Reasons for decision


In January 2019 full council agreed to increase the premium charged on longterm empty dwellings from 50% to 100% from 1 April 2019.


At that point, a dwelling was defined as a “long-term empty dwelling” if for a continuous period of at least 2 years ending with that day it had been

unoccupied, and substantially unfurnished.


With effect from 1 April 2024, the definition of long-term empty dwelling in

s.11B(8) LGFA has been amended by section 79 of the Levelling-up and

Regeneration Act 2023 to substitute “1 year” for the previous “2 years”.


As the definition in the legislation has changed, the Council is making a new determination to clarify that the new time period applies.


Alternative options considered


The Council has considered not making a new determination but considers that, for the avoidance of doubt, the Council should make it clear that, from 1 April 2024, the premium shall apply to dwellings that are empty for at least 1 year in line with the changed legislation.


The Council could choose to remove or reduce the existing premium.


This is not proposed because the Council is under significant financial

pressure to deliver a sustainable Medium Term Financial Strategy. Removing

or reducing the Council Tax premium would reduce the Council’s income.


In addition, removing or reducing the premium may reduce the incentive for residents to bring long-term empty properties back into use.


Supporting documents: