Owners of empty homes to the south of Cambridge to be hit in the pocket

PLANS to get empty homes reoccupied in south Cambridgeshire have been announced.

There are 600 long-term empty homes in the South Cambridgeshire area which are not helping a growing demand for housing in the desirable district.

So say councillors at South Cambridgeshire District Council who have ruled that owners of empty properties will no longer be allowed a 50 per cent reduction in council tax following an initial six-month exemption period.

And from April 1, after the initial six-month exemption period, council tax will need to be paid at the full rate.

The council describes a long-term empty property as one which has been both unoccupied and unfurnished for more than six months.

The owners of properties undergoing a major structural overhaul will also have to pay full council tax after an initial 12-month exemption period if they remain unoccupied and unfurnished at the end of this time.

Portfolio holder for housing at South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Mark Howell, said: “Long term empty homes can be a magnet for crime and graffiti, which can bring neighbourhoods and residents down, as well as contributing to a shortage of housing in the district.

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“Over the coming months, we will also be developing an Empty Homes Strategy to assess the extent of empty homes in the district and the options available to assist homeowners to bring their property back into use.”