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Property law: Cornish councillors label second home tax discount 'unjust'

Currently, UK legislation states that those who own a second home need not pay full council tax on the second property, this being because the owners argue they are not making full use of the council services as they do not live there all the time.

But councillors in Cornwall have decided to ask the government to change this law and charge, if not the full council tax on second homes, then half again on top of the premium.

There are around 246,000 second homes in England that are registered for a discount and around 13,500 of those, that's one in 20 houses, are in Cornwall.

These 13,500 houses in Cornwall are entitled to a 10% discount on council tax (which is less than the possible 50%). But the local council feels that even a reduced discount is too much.

Councillor John Keeling MBE believes the discounts are unjust during a time of recession.

He said: "There are currently around 13,500 properties registered as second homes in Cornwall and removing the 10% discount would provide an additional £1.6m which could be used to provide homes for local people."

Cornwall has a shortage of affordable local housing, and also the second largest number of people sleeping rough in England, behind London.

The extra money raised from council tax could be put into affordable housing schemes.

Related links:
Read more on this story (BBC)
Read about council tax, who pays and how much? (FindLaw)
Find local property solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)