Owners of unoccupied homes in Birmingham will pay the premium price in council tax billing

Published: Thursday, 11th March 2021

Homes in Birmingham which have been empty for more than two years will be subject to premium council tax bills to encourage owners to bring them back into use.

This week Birmingham City Council will begin distributing council tax bills to 450,000 households across the city containing details of the 2021/2022 annual bills which come into effect from 1 April.

Using discretionary powers, the council will charge a premium council tax charge to reflect the problems caused by homes being left unoccupied, and the costs that fall to the council caused by the housing shortage.

Cllr Brigid Jones, Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council, said: “It’s unacceptable that while people are still homeless and sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham, we have thousands of homes across the city which are unused and sitting empty. Bringing these properties back into use not only provides a solution to people who are homeless or seeking more suitable accommodation, but it benefits the wider neighbourhood.

“Vacant properties which are left unattended can be a magnet for antisocial behaviour through actions such as litter, vandalism and arson which impacts on the entire area by creating an unsafe environment. By filling them with people it resolves this issue whilst bringing footfall, life and energy back into the area, helping to increase opportunities for local businesses at a time when they need us more than ever.”

Owners of homes which have been sat empty for up to two years will have to pay 100 percent of their annual council tax bill, impacting 7,666 properties across the city.

For the 1,341 properties which have remained vacant for more than two years but less than five years, the owner will have to pay their annual council tax bill plus an additional 100 percent, effectively doubling the charge.

Owners of the 398 homes which have been empty for more than five years but less than 10 years will have a 200 percent premium implemented on top of their annual council tax bill to treble the charge.

However, the largest premium will be applied to the 267 properties which have remained unoccupied for more than 10 years, which will have an additional premium of 300 percent added to their annual bill.

Cllr Jones added: “There are currently 9,672 properties stood empty across Birmingham; properties which people would love the opportunity to rent or buy but who are currently denied. As a city, we have limited options for housing development so it’s important we maximise occupancy in the properties we do have to ensure a vibrant, thriving and lived-in city that provides opportunities, not blockages to housing issues.”

Last week the latest annual rough sleeper figures showed a 67 percent reduction between 2019 and 2020, although this still equated to 17 people sleeping rough at the time the survey was taken.

Find out more information on the 2020/ 2021 council tax bills in Birmingham by visiting the Birmingham City Council website.

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