Newport City Council’s cabinet will next week consider a proposal to ask people’s views on introducing a premium on council tax for long-term empty and second homes only.
Demand for affordable housing is outstripping supply but there are more than 800 properties in the city which have been unoccupied for at least a year and 15 second homes.
In March, more than 450 households were in temporary accommodation. There are more than 9,000 people registered for social housing but in 2021/22 there were just 686 new social housing lettings.
As part of the council’s determination to tackle homelessness, it wants to see an increase in the availability of good quality and affordable housing.
Efforts have been made to encourage the owners of empty homes to bring them back into beneficial use, but this has had limited success.
In April 2019, the council removed a discretionary discount on empty homes and, apart from statutory exemptions, reductions are not allowed.
Councils are allowed to charge a council tax premium of up to 300 per cent and most across Wales have already started, or are due to start, making a charge.
A 100 per cent premium would effectively double the amount of standard council tax for a property.
The council has had to invest significantly in housing services over the last few years as it deals with the increased demand. If the proposal is approved, the full amount of the council tax premium would be retained by the council and would contribute towards housing related spending.
Cabinet will decide whether to hold a public consultation at its meeting on Wednesday. It will consider responses later in the year before deciding whether to ask the full council to introduce the scheme.