PROPERTY owners whose homes have been lying vacant for a year face a 200 per cent rise in council tax charges.
The new penalty, voted through at the City Chambers yesterday, is intended to free up housing stock across the city. There are thought to be 1800 vacant homes in Edinburgh – 2.2 per cent of the city’s property market.
Councillor Iain Whyte branded the new penalty “draconian” and said the city did not have a “significant problem” with houses lying empty.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, finance convener, said: “Even though Edinburgh has a relatively low level of empty homes in both the social and private sectors, the council has a duty to look at all the options open to us to deliver more homes.
“It is of utmost importance that we bring more empty homes back into use.”