Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 18 December 2014

Agenda: Read the Supplementary Agenda 1


Minutes of Meetings of Committees 
Gearr-chunntasan Choinneamhan Chomataidhean

There are circulated the following Minutes of Meetings which it was indicated would follow:-

Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee, 3 December
Caithness & Sutherland Area Committee, 9 December 


Revenue Budget and Council Tax 2015/16 – Additional Recommendation
Buidseat Teach-a-steach agus Cis Comhairle 2015/16

Members are advised that the Local Government Finance (Unoccupied Properties) Scotland Bill was passed on 31 October 2012 and provides Councils with the option to levy additional council tax charges, subject to certain conditions, in respect of unoccupied properties. A long term empty property is one that is not a second home and has been unoccupied for over a year. The power to vary the Council Tax by up to 200% does not extend to dwellings that have been continuously unoccupied for less than two years and are actively being marketed for sale or let.

The Council, on 7 February 2013, agreed to introduce Council Tax charges of 100% relating to long term empty properties effective from 1 April 2013. As reported to that meeting, long-term empty domestic properties had previously qualified for a 10% reduction in their council tax charge. A change in legislation meant the Council had the option to increase the charge from 90% up to 200% of the Council Tax due.

In December 2013, the Council noted that no additional income had been assumed for the purpose of setting the 2014/15 budget. However, it was proposed that, in setting the budget for 2015/16, the Council would be asked to consider a proposal to move towards a 200% charge. Records indicate that there are approximately 500 properties that may be affected by this change.

The purpose of this legislation is intended to encourage owners to bring properties back into the housing market. It is therefore proposed that the Council raises the charge on long term empty properties from 1 April 2015 to 200% of the appropriate council tax band for that property. This will generate additional income of £360,000 and is assumed in the budget presented to the Council.

The Council is asked to agree to increase Council Tax on long term empty properties to 200% with effect from 1 April 2015 as detailed.