Council Tax to double for second homes in East Ayrshire

Council Tax to double for second homes in East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire Council has agreed to increase Council Tax charges for second homes with the introduction of a premium of 100% from 1 July 2024.

This decision was based upon the results of a joint Scottish Government/ COSLA public consultation held last year and subsequent new legislation – The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Amendments Regulations 2023, which provides new discretionary powers for local authorities.

From 1 April 2024, the new powers will allow local authorities to charge a premium of up to 100% on second homes. This legislation means that second homes and long-term empty properties are treated the same and removes any financial incentive to switch between uses, reducing the potential for levy avoidance.

Within East Ayrshire, long-term empty properties, which are empty for more than 12 months, are billed at full Council Tax rate plus a premium of 100%. Following discussions and a proposal put forward by Councillor Barry Douglas to amend the commencement date of the premium from 1 October 2024 to 1 July 2024; second homes will now be billed at the same rate from 1 July 2024, giving the owners of affected properties a three month grace period before the 100% premium is introduced.

There will be two exceptions to the introduction of the 100% premium. If a property is purchased by a new owner and they can produce evidence that it is undergoing repairs or renovations then the premium will not be applied for up to six months. Also, if a property has been previously long-term empty and is purchased by a new owner, the maximum period where the premium will not be applied will increase from three to up to six months.

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of the council, said: “The introduction of the Second Homes premium aims to prioritise homes for living in and increase housing availability by encouraging owners to make their property available for use as a lived in home through sale or rent. It also gives local authorities the ability to exercise flexibility and discretion when considering local housing needs and services.

“This decision will generate a limited amount of income income for the Council at a time when very difficult decisions are having to be made around budgets, although the driver for the introduction of the premium is to encourage a greater use of properties. Cabinet agreed that this additional income would not be ring-fenced and can be spent on local priorities.

“The Council Tax team will now write to the affected owners advising of the 100% premium charge that will be implemented from 1 July 2024.”

Share icon
Share this article: