Landlords across North Lincolnshire are being urged to get their properties back on the market or face inevitable council tax rises.
It comes as a report revealed almost 2,000 homes across North Lincolnshire remain empty – space which could be used for people looking to rent or buy.
Of the 1,808 properties in North Lincolnshire listed as empty, 149 are currently charged a 100 per cent council tax premium for being empty for more than two years. Additionally, 64 of the 149 properties have been empty for more than five years and 20 have sat empty for more than a decade.
The council already works with landlords to support them to get empty properties back into use but is now considering the option of increasing council tax premiums as part of the budget setting process for 2022/23.
Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said:
“The impact on communities of empty properties it significant, it is one of the things which we receive the most complaints about.
“Not only that there are many people who would benefit from these homes being brought back into use, not least their owners.
“People seeking rental properties or people looking to take their first step onto the property ladder would certainly benefit – a house stood empty is no use to anyone, it could become a home.
“There is lots of help and support available, we can work with landlords to bring the properties back into use or dispose of them and we would welcome any conversation with people to see where we can assist.
“However, if people choose to keep these properties empty for significant periods of time then the only option we have available is to increase the amount of council tax that must be paid – it is not a decision we take lightly but where we need to intervene to help our communities flourish we will.”
The move comes as a government scheme to reduce Stamp Duty on sales of properties is being extended through the end of October.
From the end of June, no duty will be paid on properties up to £250,000. The scheme was implemented as one of the many Government schemes designed to support people through the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the value of the stamp duty holiday is being reduced, several other government schemes exist to help first time buyers. These include Help to Buy, Right to Buy and Shared Ownership.
First Time buyers do not pay Stamp Duty on their homes up to the value of £300,000.