Council Tax Exemption for Second and Empty Homes Ended

Move could bring in extra £3 million

Hammersmith & Fulham plan increase for vacant properties

January 23, 2023

Hammersmith and Fulham Council is set to make £3 million by not giving any council tax discounts to residents who have empty or second homes.

The borough is home to 2,688 second homes in the borough and a further 749 empty properties, but none of them will be exempt from council tax.

The council predicts it will collect £2.44m from the second homes and a further £673,316 from the empty homes, according to its latest tax report.

Since April 2019, any property in the borough that has been empty for more than two years has been charged double the amount of council tax. To reduce the number of empty properties in the borough, the council also offers VAT reductions to help make properties liveable again.

On their website, the council says, “Empty properties are a wasted resource, to the owner and to the community as a whole. They cost money to tax and maintain and represent a significant amount of lost rental income. They are often a nuisance which devalues the area.

“We want to encourage and help owners and managers to bring them back into use.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved its new council tax plan at its full council meeting last Thursday night (18 January). A council report said, “The council’s policy on not granting discounts or exemptions on empty or second properties encourages bringing these properties back in to use and creating safer and cleaner communities for residents and contributing to the prevention of homelessness.”

It added: “The recommendations in this statutory report will ensure that the council continues to charge the premium on long term empty properties and not grant discounts or exemptions to second homes or unoccupied and unfurnished properties. These generate additional income and contributes to one of the lowest council tax rates in the country.”

There are 93,165 homes on the borough’s council tax list and 29,505 properties are expected to receive a single person’s discount. The amount of money the council makes from council tax may increase too. There are 304 homes under construction in the borough and some of them are expected to be finished in 2023.

An extra 1,673 properties in the borough will be eligible for council tax this year and the council expects to collect roughly 97 per cent of council tax.

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter