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Propertymark slams Scottish plans to increase council tax on second homes

Propertymark has expressed its opposition to Scottish Government plans to increase council tax premiums on second homes.

Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns, said it was not an effective policy measure to increase the supply of homes and grant funding is instead needed to support getting empty homes back into use.  

MSPs who are considering the Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023.


The draft Regulations give councils discretionary powers to charge an increase in council tax on second homes of up to 100% and also provide a grace-period from the application of a premium of up to 100%, that is payable on an empty property, when it is purchased by a new owner. 

This grace-period will apply where the property has been purchased by a new owner within the past six months, and renovations or repairs are being undertake.

Douglas pointed to Wales where since 1 April 2023, local authorities have had the ability to increase council tax premiums on second homes and long-term empty properties by 300% but the legislation has had limited impact on Wales since then, with a minority of local authorities choosing to adopt higher premiums and the supply of second homes being impacted very little.

He also noted that second homes in Scotland are already being taxed at 6% of the purchase price, the amount of Additional Dwelling Supplement that was raised in December last year, and questioned the distribution of the increase in revenues the Scottish Government has received.

He also questioned why the Scottish Government were not focussing on business rates for holiday lets to raise additional revenue.   

The membership body wants to see action on empty homes to maximise the use of existing housing stock and bolster much needed supply in the private rented sector and for those looking to move house or get on the housing ladder.

Douglas told MSPs that a grace period was sensible for empty homes but should be accompanied by an empty home grant scheme to further incentivise people and first-time buyers to bring empty homes back into use. 

Additionally, he said rebates could be provided to people who have renovated empty homes and the Scottish Government should investigate what further powers they can give local authorities to require owners of long-term empty homes to use the property to live in, rent out or put on the market for sale.


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