Owners of long-term empty properties in Lewes are set to be hit by council tax premiums of up to 300% from April 2024.
Cabinet councillors yesterday recommended the increase to tackle the ‘scandalous’ situation of homes sitting empty while there is a shortage of houses.
Subject to approval by Full Council, the premiums would begin at 100% for homes that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished between one and five years of becoming empty. They would then rise to 200% for between five and 10 years, and 300% for more than 10 years of becoming empty.
Cllr Christine Robinson, deputy leader and cabinet member for Community Wellbeing, said: ‘It is verging on scandalous that at a time when we have an acute shortage of homes for local people in Lewes district, so many properties are standing long-term empty or being used as a second home.
‘I am very pleased we are able to increase these levies and that as a result, more properties may come back on to the market from owners of second and empty homes who are discouraged by the extra fees. Alternatively, if they retain the properties, they will be making much greater contributions to local services which are currently under great pressure.’