Council tax rates for empty homes in Hastings could be set to double from April this year.
As part of the 2019/2020 council budget, empty homes in the town are being considered for a 100 per cent extra council tax charge.
This means they would be charged double council tax – the maximum possible charge under new government rules. The charge, if approved, will apply to properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years. In 2018 there were 1,334 empty properties in Hastings, up from 1,112 in 2017.
Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “We have used compulsory purchase as a way to bring homes that have been left empty the longest back into use. But we have a housing shortage in this town, and there are still too many properties left empty. These new punitive council tax charges will work alongside our compulsory purchase programme to make sure empty homes are brought back into use.”
The charge will increase further to 200 per cent extra for properties left empty for more than five years from April of next year, 2020/2021, and again at 300 per cent extra for properties left empty for more than 10 years from 2021/2022.