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Stoke-on-Trent City Council taking steps to reduce the number of wasted homes in the city

Published: Thursday, 21st March 2024

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is taking steps to reduce the number of ‘wasted’ homes in the city as part of its commitment to ensure housing is available for those in greatest need.

Second homes, homes which are fully furnished and unoccupied by a permanent resident, are a concern to the city council as, if left unoccupied, they have a negative impact on local neighbourhoods, attracting vandalism, squatters and illegal dumping.

Now, during a full council meeting, members have agreed to introduce a Second Homes Premium for all properties in the city where there is no permanent resident and the property is substantially furnished, including:

  • Furnished lets during periods of inoccupation;
  • Small term lets such as Air B&B and holiday lets; and
  • Second homes that are unoccupied but substantially furnished.

A spokesperson for Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “There are currently around 436 second homes in the city that fit the criteria. The impact of second homes is similar to that of empty homes, due to the problems associated with them, they reduce the value of neighbouring properties and can discourage future investment in the area.

“They are a wasted asset and it is right to use all our powers to bring them back into use. There are plenty of families in the city which need somewhere decent to live.

“It is expected that the move will generate additional council tax, while encouraging occupation of these properties and reducing the level of homes left empty in the city.”

The Second Homes Premium will apply to all homes where there is no permanent resident and which are substantially furnished. Properties let for 140 days or more per year are rated for Business Rates and will not be affected. Properties subject to probate are unaffected.

Affected properties will be subject to a council tax premium of 100 per cent, with effect from April 2025, in line with the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023.