A briefing on the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill 2017-19Jump to full report >>
The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill 2017-19 had its First Reading on 28 March 2018. Second Reading is scheduled for Monday 23 April 2018.
This is a Government Bill, which implements two policy commitments which were made in the November 2017 Budget.
1. Reversing the effects of the ‘staircase tax’
The ‘staircase tax’ is a colloquial term given to the effects of the case of Woolway vs Mazars, on which judgment was given in July 2015. This case affected the valuation of properties for business rates purposes. The effect was that properties that were contiguous, but where access from one to the other was through a communal area, were required to be treated as separate and could not be valued as a single property.
This issue was covered by an entry on the Commons Library’s Insights blog in November 2017. The Government issued a consultation, and a draft Bill, on 29 December 2017, with a response published on 3 April 2018.
The chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee corresponded with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the subject on 23 January, 19 February, 26 February, and 8 March 2018.
2. Increasing the maximum ‘empty homes premium’
The Bill will permit a charge of up to 200% of normal council tax on properties that have been empty for two years or more, instead of the current limit of 150%. This is separate from the Bill's first provision and did not feature in the consultation and correspondence noted above.
The Bill extends to England and Wales and applies to England only.