Dorset councillors have recently approved proposals to implement a council tax premium on second homes and to tighten regulations on the existing premium for long-term empty homes.

Here are the key points:
  1. Council Tax Premiums:
    • Long-term empty and unoccupied properties will face a 100% premium from April 1st this year, applied after one year of vacancy instead of the previous two years.
    • A 100% council tax premium will also be introduced on second homes from April next year, effectively doubling the council tax charge to 200% for such properties.
  2. Definition of Second Homes:
    • The council clarifies that the premium on second homes will apply from the day a property is considered a second home or a “dwelling periodically occupied.” There is no fixed period requirement for a property to be used as a second home before the premium can apply.
  3. Allocation of Additional Revenue:
    • Only a minority of the revenue generated from these premiums will be allocated to provide affordable housing.
    • The council has agreed to utilize 40% of the additional funds raised to support the delivery of affordable housing initiatives.
  4. Background and Implementation:
    • Discussions regarding the implementation of council tax premiums on second homes and empty properties have been ongoing in Dorset for several years.
    • With the passage of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act, which allows for these premiums, the council is set to implement the changes in 2024 and 2025.
  5. Purpose of Premiums:
    • The council aims to generate much-needed additional funds to support vital frontline services and initiatives that benefit Dorset residents.
    • These premiums are part of efforts to address issues related to housing affordability and the utilization of residential properties within the region.

In summary, Dorset councillors have approved measures to impose council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties, with a portion of the additional revenue earmarked for affordable housing initiatives.

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