Bradford Council is believed to be considering options for increasing the Council tax premiums on long-term empty homes, to support the Empty Homes Action Plan.

Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) and The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) Act 2018 gives council the power to apply a Council Tax premium of up to 300% on long-term empty homes.

Bradford Council is familiar with the impact long term empty properties have on neighbourhoods and communities and the importance of bringing these properties back into use as good quality housing.

It is expected that increasing the Council tax charged on these empty homes will incentivise owners to bring them back into use.

UST 13 of Bradford’s long term empty homes were brought back into use last year – leaving almost 4,000 remaining empty.

Properties are classed as “long term empty” if they are vacant for six months or more, and the most recent figures for Bradford show that 3,931 homes fall into that category.

The issue of empty homes was raised at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee this week.

Mrs Holmes, told the committee that if a property is empty for more than a year, the owner is charged 150 per cent council tax rates.

Parliament is soon to discuss changes that could see that rise to 200 per cent for properties that are empty for over two years.

She said if a property was considered unlivable it was removed from the housing stock lists

The options proposed will be presented as a report to the Executive on December 4 2018.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We want to see as many empty properties brought back into use across the district as possible. By increasing the amount of Council tax paid on empty properties we aim to incentivise owners to get them occupied.

Bradford Council’s Empty Homes and Loans team offers a range of advice and initiatives for owners to assist and incentivise owners to bring their long term empty homes back into use. These include the Empty Property Loan (EPL), developed in partnership with Sheffield City Council, which is one of very few loan products being successfully delivered to empty home owners nationally.

For further information, see the Bradford Council website.