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Plans Afoot To Encourage More Empty Homes Back Into Use For lsland Residents

Owners of second homes and empty properties on the Isle of Wight could be charged more in council tax to help free up housing for local people.

The Island is currently facing a housing crisis with more than 80 per cent of its private rented stock becoming unavailable for long term lets since the pandemic.

Around 15,000 households are struggling to find accommodation with those on the lowest incomes unable to afford current market rents and prices.

By reducing the amount of time a property can be empty, the Isle of Wight Council aims to bring more homes into productive use while raising additional money to support vital services for Island communities.

Equally, those who are fortunate enough to be in a position to own more than one house can help in their support of the local community, according to Cabinet papers released this week.

Proposals are due to go before Cabinet next Thursday (8 February), but any changes for second home owners would not come into effect until 1 April 2025.

There are likely to be exceptions, such as properties undergoing probate and seasonal homes where year-round occupation is prohibited.

Full Council will consider the plans on Wednesday, 28 February.

Councillor Ian Stephens, deputy leader and Cabinet member for housing and finance, said:

"Many of residents are affected by the limited rental housing market on the Island and are experiencing great financial difficulty in trying to find suitable affordable rented accommodation.

"Putting additional charges on empty homes encourages property owners to bring these buildings back into use, helping to tackle the housing need we face on the Island and prevent sites falling derelict and becoming eyesores.

"Meanwhile premiums on second homes mean those who visit the Island for only part of the year can support our local services year-round – and again encourages owners who do not use them to free up the property for local residents."

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