Here’s where Chichester district ranks in terms of empty and second homes

Chichester councillors have recommended that people who leave their homes empty for two years or more will have to pay a council tax premium of between 100 and 300 per cent.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 5:12 pm
A disused/empty home

During a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (October 5), members were told that the premium – the maximum allowed – was intended to ‘encourage owners to bring their property back into use’.

The recommendation should be given the nod by the full council next month.

There are around 59,000 homes in the district, of which just over 400 – about 0.6 per cent – are empty.

Some 328 have been empty for less than two years, so will pay no premium; 48 have been empty for between two and five years so will pay a 100 per cent premium; 14 have been empty for five to ten years so will pay a 200 per cent premium; and 15 have been empty for more than ten years and will pay a 300 per cent premium.

Paul Jobson, revenues & debt recovery manager, said the figures were below the national average and it was ‘encouraging’ that it was so low.

He told the meeting that the council was ready to help people who had, for example, inherited a property and found themselves facing a steep council tax bill.

He added: “We’re here to help. We can offer different payment arrangements. We can also engage with customers to allow them to pay the council tax from the proceeds of the sale of the property.”

One area in which the district far exceeds the national average is the number of second homes.

There are around six per cent – almost 3,200 homes –  compared to the average of one per cent. This places Chichester as 17th highest among the 314 authorities in the country.

The ‘hot-spots’ for second homes are Selsey, Bosham, East and West WIttering and Itchenor, all of which Mr Jobson said had a ‘disproportionately high’ number of second homes.

A report to the cabinet recommended that there be no council tax discount in 2022/23 for those homes as ‘the council does not accept that there is a valid reason for treating second homes more favourably than first homes’.

Advice to owners of empty homes can be found at https://www.chichester.gov.uk/article/24463/Empty-homes#advice .