Thursday, May 25, 2006

Curtains for Empty Homes

Reducing council tax discounts on empty and second homes was always likely to have some odd consequences. A caller this morning told me how he has bought and put up thick curtains at the windows of his empty property so that the council couldn’t “snoop in and see whether the house was furnished” The reason for his apparent paranoia is that in many council areas there is a larger discount for unfurnished empty homes. He directed me to this rather interesting bulletin board which gives disgruntled empty home owners the opportunity to have a whinge.

The other consequence is that the new council tax rules mean that it is often cheaper to live in the property than to leave it empty. No doubt this is annoying if you happen to own an empty home, but if it helps encourage owners to bring them back into use that must be a good thing. If not at least it might give the curtain industry a minor boost.

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