SEVERAL COUNCILLORS are calling on the Council to take further action on long-term empty properties, in order to help provide more homes in the city.

In a motion to Council on tonight, Cllr Stephen Fenton, member of the Liberal Democrats, will call on the Council to levy up to a 300 per cent council tax premium, as soon as legislated for, on landlords who have long-term empty properties.

The motion, if passed, will also instruct council officers to work on a report to be considered by the Council’s Executive on what approaches can be taken by the Council to reduce the number of empty homes.

Currently 527 properties remain empty in York according to data from 2017.

Since April 2013, national legalisation has allowed local authorities in England to charge a premium of 50 per cent on the full council tax charge.

This was increased further last November, allowing Councils to charge a 100 per cent premium.

However, from April 2021, the Council, should they decide to, will be able to charge a 100 per cent premium on properties empty up to 5 years; 200 per cent on properties empty over 5 years; and 300 per cent on properties empty for more than 10 years.

Cllr Stephen Fenton, Liberal Democrat Ward Councillor for Dringhouses and Woodthorpe, said: “It is no secret that pressures in York’s housing market are making it increasingly difficult for people to set up a home in the city. Whilst this Council has embarked on the largest house building programme in the city since the 1970s, bringing empty properties back into use can have a significant positive impact on providing the homes York needs.

“There is a clear opportunity to use new Council Tax legislation, which Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords helped secure from Government, and help reduce the number of long-term empty properties in the city.

“It is incredibly important that the Council utilise every opportunity to drive down the number of long-term empty properties and relieve the pressures in our housing market.”