Plans to double council tax for second home owners in Teignbridge

Teignbridge has become the latest local authority to plan to introduce the double council tax Credit: Geograph / Derek Harper

Teignbridge plans to double council tax for second home owners in a bid to help tackle the housing crisis in Devon.

On Tuesday (3 January) the district council’s executive agreed to adopt the policy, subject to further approval in the coming weeks, becoming the latest local authority to provisionally sign up after Mid Devon, South Hams and Cornwall.

The government included the new surcharge for second homes in its levelling-up and regeneration bill last year, but the new tax power for councils is not expected to be introduced until next year at the earliest.

Teignbridge District Council has also provisionally agreed to adopt another new power in the levelling-up bill, allowing it to double council tax faster on properties that have been empty for 12 months.

It is hoped the change will free up more properties and help to ease the current housing crisis in Devon, with both local families and key workers from further afield struggling to move to the area due to a lack of suitable housing.

Lib Dem councillor Martin Wrigley said: “Whilst I’ve absolutely nothing against second homes, it breaks my heart to see them empty and unused and nobody there.

“Too many empty second homes in a village can destroy the heart of the community, so seeing this is a really good thing because it will encourage people to either use them or put them back into use for people locally.”

There are approximately 1,250 people with a registered housing need in Teignbridge according to a council report, while it believes around 1,240 properties are furnished but not currently used as anyone’s sole or main residence.

Cllr Wrigley said the almost identical totals are “a coincidence and there is no correlation,” but added: “That is quite astonishing.”

The council’s analysis suggests doubling of council tax for second homes could generate around £2.5 million in extra revenue.

Credit: Local Democracy Reporter Service/Ollie Heptinstall