Neath Port Talbot Council has approved a council tax increase of an additional 100% on second and long-term empty homes in the borough.

The decision was given at a full council meeting where members discussed the increase in cost which is designed to bring long-term empty homes in the area back into use.

The latest charge means owners of second homes or long-term empty properties will now be charged a premium of 200% on their council tax bill following an initial 100% increase that was first put in place by the authority in 2020.

It comes after Welsh Government legislation was introduced in 2023 allowing all local authorities to charge premiums of up to 300% on these types of properties.

A long-term empty dwelling is defined as one which is both “unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year” while a second home is defined as a dwelling that is not a person’s “sole or main residence and is substantially furnished”.

In a report Neath Port Talbot’s latest data showed that there are currently are 1,153 long-term empty homes in the borough as well as  555 properties which are classed as second homes that pay the 100% charge.

The report read: “The charging of a 100% premium on long-term empty dwellings and second homes would raise additional revenue through council tax collection. This is estimated at a maximum of £2,389,858.21, based on the

full year impact of a 100% premium, once both premiums are implemented

(April 2025), and based on the current 98% collection rate at average Band

D council tax rates.”

Cllr Simon Knoyle said: “As members we have all experienced the problems caused by long-term empty properties in our communities. The introduction of a council tax premium should incentivise homeowners to return their properties to good use.”

He added that a concession was included in the plans which meant if a property was deemed uninhabitable by the council when purchased the premium would not apply for six months to give the owner time to make it fit to live in.

The proposals were later approved unanimously by members despite opposition from residents who took part in a public consultation where 44% of 433 respondents said that they strongly disagreed with the proposal to introduce a premium on long-term empty properties.