For many years now, local authorities have had the power to issue Completion Notices where they believed that a stock property was capable of being completed within three months but our experience based on member feedback is that this is not used very frequently.
Following a consultation in December 2011, local authorities were also given the power to set their own council tax charges for empty properties (previously it was set at a national level). Again, based on members feedback, not all local authorities have chosen to do this but, those that have, have adopted less generous exemptions than existed under the national rules.
The HBF opposed the changes to council tax on empty properties and also made representations to Government following the change but were unable to change the policy.
Whilst council tax charges for empty (stock) properties is not an issue often raised by members, we believe that this may be because the generally favourable sales market means that there is little stock on which to charge council tax. However, in the event of any future market downturn this has the potential to become more of an issue and so we are keen to ensure we try and establish a system that works regardless of the market conditions.
We would welcome members feedback on two issues:-
Firstly, what are members experiences of local authorities issuing Completion Notices on stock properties?
Secondly, what are members experiences of local authorities charging council tax on empty (stock) properties that appear on the Rating Lists?
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