Council leaders have called for the power to double the amount of council tax on homes that have been left empty between two and five years.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is urging peers to back an amendment to the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill, which would allow councils to increase council tax by up to 300% on homes that have been left empty for 10 years or more.
Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, said: 'At a time when we face a chronic housing shortage across the country it is wrong for so many homes to be left empty. Councils work hard to address the issue but the existing powers open to them are complex and difficult to use.
'Providing councils with the ability to charge more for empty homes would be a hugely positive measure which will enable councils to incentivise owners of long-term empty homes to bring them back into use.