Owners of second homes and empty homes in Northumberland set to be hit with huge tax hikes

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Owners of second homes in Northumberland are set to see their council tax bills double in a bid to make more houses available to local people.

The owners of empty homes will also face a 100% premium on their properties, which could rise to 300% for dwellings that have been left unoccupied for 10 years or more.

The empty homes premium will come in from April 1 this year, while the second homes premium will begin on April 1, 2025.

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Last May, the council said there were more than 2,000 homes in Northumberland that had been empty for at least six months, with the majority in Blyth and Ashington. There are also more than 3,500 properties classed as second homes in the county, most of which are in coastal and upland areas of the county.

Coun Guy Renner-Thompson in Seahouses.Coun Guy Renner-Thompson in Seahouses.
Coun Guy Renner-Thompson in Seahouses.

Coun Guy Renner-Thompson is the councillor for the coastal ward of Bamburgh, which also includes the towns of Seahouses and Beadnell that are popular with visitors.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s cabinet, he said: “The area I represent has the highest level of second home ownership in the county.

“It is something I and campaigners have been talking about for a long, long time. The Government have ran a lot of consultation with us and other problem areas like Cornwall and the Lake District.

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“We’re glad to see we have been listened to. Anything that can bring housing stock back onto the local market is welcomed and this will be welcomed by the communities I represent and communities up and down the county.”

Deputy leader Coun Richard Wearmouth outlined the proposals.

He said: “This is about making sure that, at a time when in our country and to a lesser extent in our county, we want to make sure there is housing availability and people can get a house.

“This proposes to incentivise people not to hold on to empty homes. The second homes element reflects on the concerns that are very well-felt by the administration, by all councillors and our communities, particularly those in coastal and upland areas around the number of second homes.

“The Government has given us the legislation to allow us to do this.”