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Empty houses and second homes to lose Harrow council tax exemption
Homeowners with empty properties and second homes will lose discounts for council tax under plans to fill a hole in the borough’s budget.
Harrow Council wants to remove exemptions for properties that have been empty for more than two years, are undergoing major repair, are unoccupied, designated second homes or have been repossessed by banks, from March next year.
Currently, second homes get a ten per cent discount on the tax and empty properties are exempt for 12 months.
The Government has changed the way discounts are funded and are allowing local authorities to choose which exemptions and discounts it provides.
The council believes it would make an extra £750,000 a year for the borough as it battles to find £19million in savings after huge reductions in central Government funding, and also encourage homeowners to bring properties back into use sooner.
Councillor Sachin Shah, portfolio holder for finance, said: “We are asking those with the broadest shoulders to make a contribution – those with more than one home.
“The money saved will be used to ensure the council continues to support the most vulnerable people in Harrow – such as social care to elderly people and the most vulnerable who may have little or no money, and no family to support them.”
The council’s consultation on the proposals runs until September 21, with feedback being given to November’s full council meeting and a final decision taken in January.
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