Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Liz Smith, has welcomed new statistics detailing significant new revenue for councils in Perth and Kinross and Fife through empty homes surcharges.
The MSP believes the surcharge is having a positive impact in disincentivising owners from keeping properties empty with both council areas witnessing sharp falls in their long-term empty stock since the policy was introduced.
Since April 2014, Scotland's local authorities have been allowed to charge Council Tax at a rate of 200% for properties that have been unoccupied for more than a year. It does not apply to second or holiday homes where the owner can prove they are used for more than 25 days a year.
In 2017, Perth and Kinross council raised £1.48m through the scheme with Fife Council topping up their coffers by £1.14m.
According to recent housing statistics, the number of long-term empty properties has dropped by 20% in Perth and Kinross and 40% in Fife from peak 2014 levels.
Commenting, Liz Smith MSP said:
“At a time when there is a real shortage of homes it is vital that owners are motivated to turn vacant properties back into use and the 200% council tax surcharge appears to be working in Perth and Kinross and Fife.
“In addition to providing increased revenue for both councils the number of empty properties has fallen significantly since 2014.
“The population of Perth and Kinross is expanding fast and new developments can only go so far to meet demand. That’s why it is so important to make the most of the existing housing stock.
“In addition to this financial motivation, both councils also offer a range of measures to support vacant property owners and I would encourage them to get in touch to learn more.”