Lewisham Council to Hit Empty Property Investments Owners

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Owners of empty investment properties in Lewisham are due to be hit by Lewisham Council with higher council tax costs.

The charge for long-term empty properties in Lewisham has been increased from 50 per cent extra, on top of the normal rate, to 100 per cent if the property is unoccupied for two years or more.

Lewisham’s mayor and cabinet approved the increase in empty property tax for the borough, which has been allowed since November.

Lewisham council currently charges an empty homes premium of 50 per cent where a property has been unoccupied for two years or more.

From April 1 owners of homes left empty for between two and five years will have to shell out a premium of 100 per cent, while there will be a 200 per cent premium on those left empty for five years or more, with further ‘incremental increases’ past that time span.

However, there are exceptions, as the premium does not apply to an annex or if the owner is in the armed forces.

The report presented to the Lewisham mayor and cabinet stated: ‘In November 2018 the Act was amended increasing the premium from 50 per cent to 100 per cent effective from April 1, 2019, with further incremental increases in future years.

‘Authorities can now charge 100 per cent more council tax on a long-term empty property when compared to an occupied property where no single person discount is applicable.

‘This report recommends that the premium increases from 50 per cent to 100 per cent from April 1 2020 for properties empty between two and five years and 200 per cent for those properties empty five year or more.”

Lewisham council has estimated that it will take in £70 million in council tax in the year 2020/21.

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