Does anybody have any info/advice about cases where Council Tax second home status has been challenged/changed?
Occassionally we receive complaints about 'empty' properties that on checking are actually listed as second homes. Sometimes they are neglected and dilpidated properties that are not easily accessible or often visited/used. The expectation is that the Council should/will tackle, but explaining that a property is not actually empty (rather it's just 'vacant') can be difficult. Similarly pursuing action, unless there are issues that warrant s215/other action. But the prospects for action, and bringing the property into regular housing use, would probably be better if status were long-term empty as it would add weight to justification.
I'm aware of the 23/09/14 DCLG letter defining empty homes and second homes. That implies that distinguishing empty and second homes is fairly straightforward. But in practice it's not so easy. For instance, we've received renewed complaint about a property, alleged to be empty, that we'd previously investigated and closed our file on the basis that second home. The property is furnished, albeit in very dated fashion; and whilst dilapidated no action warranted. But neighbours are not convinced/satisfied. We are reviewing, including with Council Tax/other colleagues. Arguably if the Council Tax status were long-term empty (premium) it would support potential action (or threat of), e.g. EDMO/CPO.
I'm wondering whether any knowledge of legal precedents or other experience in the network, and would be grateful for any info/advice.