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New Tax Rules on Second Homes in the UK to Address Housing Crisis

Owners of empty properties and second homes in England, Wales, and Scotland will face paying at least double the standard council tax to bring these properties back into use. From April, a 100% council tax premium applies to properties empty for 12 months, increasing to 300% based on vacancy duration. Experts doubt the long-term effectiveness, citing a continued rise in vacant properties despite similar measures since 2013.
Owners of empty properties and second homes in England, Wales, and Scotland could face paying at least double the standard council tax to encourage them to bring these properties back into use.

The new rules, effective from April, impose a 100% council tax premium on properties that have been empty for 12 months, up from the previous period of two years.

This premium can increase to 300% depending on how long the property has been vacant.

In 2021, 6.1% of all dwellings in England were unoccupied, 8.2% in Wales, and 4.2% in Scotland.

From April 2025, second home owners will also face premium council tax charges, with a maximum of 200% in England and Scotland, and 300% in Wales.

Experts, however, are skeptical about the long-term effectiveness of these measures, citing the continued rise in vacant properties despite similar strategies implemented since 2013.

The Local Government Association and experts like Adam Cliff and Paula Higgins suggest that while the tax might have short-term benefits, it will not significantly impact the housing crisis without additional measures.

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