Owners of properties left empty for several years could face significant council tax increases.
Adur and Worthing councils have launched a survey over plans to charge a 100 per cent additional fee on homes which have been vacant for two or more years – an increase of 50 per cent.
This could be increased to 200 per cent for homes left empty for five years or more.
According to Worthing Borough Council, there are 59 properties in Worthing that have been vacant for two or more years, with one standing empty since 1989.
A spokesman for the joint councils said: “Given the small number of properties involved and only about 17 per cent of the amount collected going direct to district level, the financial gain to the councils is modest.
“But with the pressures on the local housing supply, the additional charges may encourage council tax payers to bring these properties back into use.
“We hope that the input from members of the public will help input into making a final decision on this topic.”
The online consultation period will run until Saturday, November 30 and will also cover whether the current one-month period when no council tax is payable on unoccupied and unfurnished properties should continue, and the current three-month period when no council tax is payable on properties undergoing structural or major works.
The proposed changes do not apply to unoccupied properties where the council tax payer is a charity (no fee for six months), gone into hospital or a care home (no charge), or the owner has passed away and probate hasn’t been obtained (no fee for up to six months after the grant of probate).
All feedback will be taken into account before any changes for unfurnished and unoccupied properties are introduced.
Find the survey here: www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/council-tax-consultation