Council offers the carrot and the stick in bid to tackle empty homes

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Landlords who are sitting on an empty property for over two years face having to pay 150 per cent council tax as South Kesteven District Council aims to get more empty homes back in use.

However, as well as the council tax penalty, the council is also offering incentive grants to landlords to help upgrade empty houses - of which the council has identified 500 in the district - and make them available to rent to meet local housing need.

Coun Terl Bryant, SKDC portfolio holder for Good Housing, said: “We are already tackling the issue of empty homes and we are now re-doubling our efforts.

“They constitute one per cent of all homes in South Kesteven, they are a blight on communities, can devalue neighbouring homes and a property sitting empty long term is just not acceptable in these days of great housing need.”

Currently landlords and owners pay 50 per cent of the council tax charge for any property empty for more than six months.

Under the new rules they will pay the full amount after six months and 150 per cent after two years.

Coun Bryant added: “There are obviously reasons why a property might be empty short-term but our initial research confirms long-term empty homes right across the district. All are properties that can play a useful role in the community. “