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All homes in Torbay empty for more than 12 months to be charged 200 per cent Council Tax

From next month, all properties in Torbay that have been empty for more than 12 months will automatically be charged 200% Council Tax.

The news comes as we mark national Empty Homes Week (4-10 March 2024) and forms part of Torbay Council’s work to reduce the number of empty homes in the Bay.

From 1 April 2024, owners of empty properties will receive their bills as part of the annual billing process with the charge already applied.

Tackling empty homes forms a key part of the Council’s Housing Strategy and in a survey last year, 93% of residents who took part said they either agreed or strongly agreed that the Council should get involved in bringing empty homes back into use.

In other survey results, 79% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the Council should offer incentives for empty homes to be brought back into use and 81% agreed or strongly agreed that the Council should use enforcement to bring empty properties into use. Full results from the consultation on Empty Homes are available on our website

Leader of Torbay Council David Thomas said: “We are always working with our partners and property owners to do more to tackle the issue of long-term empty properties in Torbay and we welcome the new 200% Council Tax charge on houses that have been empty for more than a year. This financial penalty should encourage more people to make sure they don’t leave properties empty for longer than necessary.

“Empty homes are a wasted asset and we want to make the best of existing housing in the Bay to ensure that they can become homes to the families who need them.


“If you know of an empty property report it online and we will make enquiries with the owner and also ensure the appropriate Council Tax charges are in place. We prioritise work on long term empty properties due to the impact that they may also have on the local community.”



Key facts:


·       Empty Homes Week is an annual awareness campaign run by the national charity Action on Empty Homes and the theme this year is about celebrating the powers that councils have to bring empty homes back into use, and to campaign for greater powers.

·       Nationally, there are more than 250,000 long term empty properties (this means empty for more than six months).

·       In Torbay, there are approximately 1,000 properties that are empty for at least six months

·       From 1 April 2024, all homes that are empty for more than 12 months will be charged 200% Council Tax

·       As part of the annual Council Tax billing process owners of these properties will receive their bills with the charge already applied.

·       This change is in response to legislation that gave the Council power to bring down the time period before the levy was applied from two years to one year. Torbay Council passed this resolution at its meeting on 8 December 2023, pending the new legislation being passed.



New charges for empty properties


Length of time empty

Prior to 1 April 2024

From 1 April 2024

0-12 months

100% charge

100% charge

12-24 months

100% charge

200% charge

Over 2 years

200% charge

200% charge

Over 5 years

300% charge

300% charge

Over 10 years

400% charge

400% charge


Find out more


For more information on Torbay’s work to tackle empty homes; if you know of a long term empty property that you think we should look into; or if you own a long term empty property visit our website


More information on Empty Homes Week is available on the national Action on Empty Homes website: