The local authority is to allow council tax surcharges to some owners of long-term empty dwellings.
Perth and Kinross Council had previously agreed a phased approach to applying a surcharge to the tax would be more suited to their policy and this began on April 1.
Kevin Fraser, principal officer (local taxes) with Perth and Kinross Council, has compiled a report on the issue, which suggests it would be “beneficial” to introduce an element of discretion to assist those that are taking clear steps to bring unoccupied dwellings back into use.
In his findings, Mr Fraser states: “The call for this stems from a number of sources such as inquiries received via elected members, members of the Scottish Parliament and the council’s empty property development team.
“It is felt that a reconsideration of any such discretion is now made, given that we are now at the final stage of the phased approach and also in light of the recent change to the charges for dwellings in council tax bands E to H.”
Mr Fraser proposes an amendment is made to council policy on the charging of council tax on long-term empty premises, effective from the 2017/18 financial year.
This would follow if an existing owner resumes activity to bring a long-term empty dwelling back into use or where the nature of the building is such that it could not reasonably be brought up to a habitable standard within the timescales allowed.
He states the phased approach taken by Perth and Kinross Council provided a degree of support that moving straight to a 100% surcharge, as carried out by several other local authorities, did not offer.
Mr Fraser reveals that where discretion is applied, this will take the form of a 10% discount for a maximum of 18 months.
“This will mean that the payer is protected from any surcharge and will pay 90% of the council tax applicable,” he adds in his report.
“At present there are 690 dwellings subject to a surcharge but it’s not possible to ascertain how many may qualify for any discretion under the terms of this proposal.
“It should be noted that applying such discretion will result in less income being received but it will assist with the stated policy intention of encouraging empty dwellings to be returned to use.”
The report will be discussed by members of Perth and Kinross Council’s strategic policy and resources committee on Wednesday.