There are many definitions of an empty home. Council Tax legislation counts a property as a long-term empty home when it has been empty of:
- furniture and/or
for six months or more.
Since April 2019, if a property remains empty for more than two years, an Empty Homes Premium is applied. This means that additional Council Tax will be payable.
A long-term empty home is also defined as a property that has been unoccupied for six months or longer and has nobody occupying it on a regular basis - whether it is furnished or not. This is the definition Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils will use to identify and target action against empty properties.
The government wants to increase the number of empty homes that are brought back into use. It is a sustainable way to increase the overall supply of housing, and to reduce blight on neighbourhoods. The government wants builders, investors, and local councils to increase the supply of repurposed empty homes.
The Councils aim to reduce the number of long-term empty properties within the districts, by bringing empty properties back into use and discouraging owners from leaving them empty.
In achieving this, we hope to:
- help alleviate a growing national housing need
- offer more choice to the housing market
- prevent empty properties from becoming a blight to their local area