Councils empowered to prioritise homes for living in.
Plans to enable councils to raise the amount of council tax paid on empty and second homes will be included in a new consultation to help increase housing availability.
First Minister Humza Yousaf will announce proposals at the Scottish Trades Union Congress today which could give councils powers to charge up to double the full rate of council tax on second homes from April 2024.
The proposed change would bring second homes into line with long-term empty homes from next year. The joint consultation with COSLA will also seek views on further powers to charge more than double rate on both empty and second homes in future years.
Latest figures show that in January 2023 there were 42,865 long-term empty homes in Scotland.
The consultation will also ask for views on whether there should be changes to the definition of when a property offering self-catered accommodation becomes liable for non-domestic rates.
The plans will deliver on commitments in the Scottish Government’s Housing to 2040 strategy and Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Green Party to enable councils to prioritise homes for living in and manage the impact of second or long-term empty homes.