Long term empty homes survey

A SURVEY has been launched to seek the views of Inverclyde residents on charges for long term empty homes.

The council wants to hear from people about the Long Term Empty Property Levy (LTE) that allows local authorities to increase council tax for homes that have been empty for more than a year.

The legislation was introduced in 2013 and was designed to help local authorities to encourage owners to bring empty homes back into use both to increase the supply of housing for those who need homes and to reduce the blight on communities caused by properties being left empty and allowed to fall into disrepair.

In Inverclyde, the level of the LTE was introduced at 30 per cent, increased to 50 per cent in April 2018 and was set at 100 per cent of the council tax charge from April 2019. 

There are an estimated 670 homes locally that have been unoccupied for longer than 12 months and this includes second homes. 

As part of a review into the effectiveness of the levy, the council is seeking the views of residents and other interested parties.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “We’re committed to reducing the number of long term empty homes to create housing supply for residents and to prevent communities being affected by the problems associated with vacant properties, such as disrepair, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour.

“As part of that commitment, we have a dedicated empty homes officer who has to date helped bring over 50 long term empty homes back into use.

“It’s of no benefit to anyone to have a property lying there empty, especially the owners, and we want to support them in bringing homes back into use.

“But it’s important that we listen to the views of those who are directly impacted by empty homes and the levy and I encourage residents and other relevant stakeholders to take a few minutes to complete the survey as their feedback is valuable.”

Legislation provides local authorities with discretionary powers to remove empty home discounts or set council tax increases of up to 100 per cent, known as LTE, on homes which have been empty for more than a year.

The discretionary power to increase council tax does not affect second homes.

The policy includes mandatory and discretionary exemptions from the LTE, recognising specific circumstances when it is acceptable for a property to remain empty.  

The aim of the review into LTE is to gauge how effective the council’s actions have been to date.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and the deadline for submissions is Friday 30 July 2021.

For more information and to take part in the survey, visit www.inverclyde.gov.uk/LTEsurvey.