Camden plans tax raid on empty and second homes

Owners of empty and second homes in Camden will be hit with higher council tax rates to bring more than 6,700 vacant properties back into use and raise almost �2million.

Camden Council will levy a 150 per cent tax on owners of homes that have sat empty for two years, as the town hall introduces a raft of new measures to tackle a “severe shortage of housing” in the borough.

The measures were approved by cabinet last week as the town hall flexes its new powers to set council tax levels.

Of the 103,800 residential properties across the borough, one in 14 homes is not lived in on a full-time basis. In Hampstead and Highgate alone, 662 homes will face increased council tax bills.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance, said: ‘‘Camden has a severe shortage of housing, yet every year thousands of properties are left vacant by private landlords and second homes continue to enjoy a tax break.

“We plan to use new powers to end these perks.

“We believe this is a fair and necessary measure in the light of further cuts by central government.”

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A six-month tax break on empty habitable homes will also be cut to one month and second homeowners will lose out on their previous 10 per cent discount.

Owners of empty uninhabitable homes will see their 12-month tax break cut to a 25 per cent discount for 12 months.

The new council tax rates are expected to be rubber stamped by full council in the new year.