People who keep empty houses or second homes in Trafford are to pay up to three times the normal rate of council tax under measures introduced by town hall bosses.

The move – designed to bring empty properties back into use – is expected to generate about £300,000 in additional council tax a year. 

Under legislation the council can charge an extra 100 per cent council tax (200 per cent in total) on properties empty between one and five years from April 1 this year.

The authority also has discretion to do the same on all second homes from April 1, 2025.

This follows the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which received Royal Assent in October 2023.

For properties empty between five and 10 years, the premium rises to 200 per cent per cent and for those vacant for longer than a decade, it’s 300pc.

A report to the Trafford executive said that the council currently has 549 empty homes which would be subject to the one-year-long empty premium from April.

Second homeowners currently pay the same council tax as others with one home.

“Second home ownership is recognised to have a negative impact in terms of the supply of homes available to meet local housing need,” the report said.

There are currently 797 properties on the council tax records which are classified as second homes.

“It is proposed that the council now takes steps to implement the maximum charge on second homes,” the report said.

Among exemptions of the new charges are: Empty properties undergoing probate [when relatives have died]; empty properties being actively marketed for sale or let; new owners of empty properties undergoing major repairs; second homes annexes that form part of, or are being treated as part of, the main dwelling; second homes job-related dwelling, properties subject to legal, technical or complex planning issues.