Carolynne Tovell SolicitorCarolynne Tovell, solicitor in Watson Ramsbottom’s property department looks at what Government is doing to tackle the issue of the unoccupied houses.

In 2017, 205,293 dwellings in England were left empty for six months or more. With the housing shortage never far from the news agenda, steps to bring unoccupied houses back into use are being taken by the Government.

Under the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill, houses which are empty for more than two years will pay twice the usual rate of council tax. There are, however, exemptions where there are legitimate reasons for properties being unoccupied, such as when the property is genuinely on the market for sale or rent or the owner is in residential care.

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