Second homeowners to pay double council tax after South Hams District Council unanimous vote

salcombe devon
Nearly one in every 12 properties in the South Hams area is a second home

Second homeowners in Devon will have to pay double council tax, as soon as legislation allows.

South Hams District Council unanimously voted to adopt the proposals at a full council meeting yesterday (16 February).

The district council declared a housing crisis in September 2021 and backed its declaration by a 12-point action plan.

One of those actions included lobbying the Government to allow local councils to be able to charge 200% council tax on second or holiday homes.

This was to ensure that second homeowners contribute fairly towards the services they receive.

Their lobbying proved successful when in May 2022, the Government published the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

This includes proposals aimed at addressing the negative impact second homes have on the supply of homes available to meet local housing needs.

The Bill proposes that councils will be allowed to introduce a council tax premium of up to 100% in respect of second homes, meaning second homes would pay double.

But this Bill is not likely to become law until 1 April 2024, at the earliest.

The Bill is not likely to become law until 1 April 2024 Credit: LDRS

Cllr Judy Pearce, the Conservative Party leader of South Hams District Council, said: “I’m very pleased that we as a council have adopted these proposals. It’s yet another objective on our housing crisis that we can tick off.

“The level of second home ownership in the South Hams has detrimentally affected the long-term viability of our communities. House prices are pushed upwards by the sheer quantity of second homes.

"Local residents can be denied a home as prices are pushed outside of what they can reasonably afford, a problem that is especially acute for the younger generation and first-time buyers.

“In November, I went to Westminster to speak to a House of Lords Select Committee to discuss the challenges around short-term lets and the impact that has in the South Hams.

"It's truly concerning that with just under 4,000 second homes in the district, this means that nearly one in every 12 homes is a second home.

“We have taken this action to level the playing field for our local residents, making it easier for them to find somewhere to live, let alone somewhere to buy.

"It’s not an attack on second homeowners, but us standing in solidarity with our residents, because they all have a right to have somewhere decent to live.”

Cllr Julian Brazil, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition, said: “I’m delighted that the proposals have finally been agreed. On this issue, the entire council speaks as one."