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Landlords in Liverpool to lose council tax discounts for empty properties

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Mon 14 Dec 2015

Landlords in Liverpool to lose council tax discounts for empty properties

Town hall bosses in Liverpool hope to boost their coffers by axing council tax discounts for empty homes in the city.

Proposals backed by Liverpool council's ruling cabinet would see home owners charged by the local authority even if no one lives at the property.

Town hall bosses in Liverpool hope to boost their coffers by axing council tax discounts for empty homes in the city.

Proposals backed by Liverpool council's ruling cabinet would see home owners charged by the local authority even if no one lives at the property.

The move is part of a bid to ensure homes in the city are used and not left lying empty – and could raise more than £2m a year for the cash-strapped council.

The city council’s ruling Labour cabinet backed plans to begin consultation with landlords and those affected by the plans.

At a cabinet meeting in Liverpool town hall Mayor Joe Anderson said: “The report says we’re the only authority that has kept this type of discount going. But with the number of empty properties and the amount of people on waiting lists, I believe this is the right thing to do.”

According to council documents in 2014/2015 there were approximately 23,500 properties which qualified for a discount period of up to two months – resulting in a reduction of around £2m council taxes paid to the local authority.

Liverpool also currently allows a permanent 20% council tax discount on empty furnished property, and of around 620 empty properties in this category about 500 have been empty for more than two months and 300 have been empty for more than a year.

If removed it is calculated by the council that it could generate an additional £170,000 a year in council taxes.

A report prepared for the city council cabinet said: “Liverpool city council has had its central government funding cut by 58% since 2010/11.

“Maintaining a discount on council tax for empty properties may no longer be considered affordable.

“The number of long-term empty furnished properties receiving the discount suggests it is not providing an incentive to let or dispose of properties quickly.”

The report also says Liverpool is the only core city to provide a discount on empty furnished accommodation.

Discounts for properties undergoing major structural repairs are likely to remain, according to the council report.

In order to bring in the changes from April 2016 the decision to remove the discounts must be taken by full council no later than January 2016.

The cabinet report said: “A further report to full council will confirm the outcome of the consultation meetings and the proposed decision.”

The council is also trying to bring derelict homes back into use under its £1 house scheme, which has proved incredibly popular.

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