Second homes in Tendring face a premium on their council tax bill after councillors approved proposals to introduce the charge.
New legislation allows councils to put a premium on the council tax bill of homes which are occupied “periodically” – often second homes from 1 April 2025.
Tendring District Council (TDC) agreed at full council tonight (Tuesday, 28 November) to introduce the maximum premium of 100% from the 2025/26 financial year – meaning owners of second homes will pay double the council tax on the property.
Councillors also agreed to adopt from next financial year (2024/25) the maximum 100% premium on homes empty for one year – another change introduced by new legislation, which previously meant homes had to be empty for two years before a premium could be applied.
Meanwhile the council agreed to keep the existing council tax discount schemes, including relief for those in hardship, on low income, or care leavers.
Mark Stephenson, TDC Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance, said the Local Council Tax Support Scheme and premiums was an important balance to get right.
“Putting additional charges on empty homes encourages property owners to bring these buildings back into use, helping to tackle the housing need we face in Tendring and prevent sites falling derelict and becoming eyesores,” Councillor Stephenson said.
“Meanwhile premiums on second homes mean those who visit the Essex Sunshine Coast for only part of the year can support our local services year-round – and again encourages owners who do not use them to free up the property for local residents; perhaps particularly young people who may feel forced to leave the district.
“I am pleased we are also continuing to support the most vulnerable by providing relief on their council tax bill; including for those leaving care, which is a relatively recent addition to the policy.
“Council tax is hugely important as an income for us, allowing us to deliver services to our residents – this year at an average cost of just 52p per day for households – but it is important this is tempered with support for those who are struggling financially.”
The Government are looking to introduce some exemptions alongside the above new changes introduced by legislation, a likely example being for properties going through probate.
Empty homes face a 100% premium for the first five years they are vacant, after which the premium doubles until 10 years, and then becomes 300% for longer periods.