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North Yorkshire councillors declare WAR on second home owners

council tax

Whats happened?

North Yorkshire councillors recently declared war on second home owners by deciding to double their council tax in an effort to make properties more accessible for locals priced out of the market.

The county council approved the “groundbreaking” vote on Wednesday, although councillors stressed that it will require government legislation to be passed before it can be implemented in April 2024, as intended.

The popularity and scenery of the Yorkshire Dales make it one of the most sought-after destinations in the UK for second homes, but residents believe it is having a negative influence on property affordability, forcing many out of the area.

The benefits for locals

The council stated that the idea to double second property owners’ council tax payments could generate more than £14 million per year in North Yorkshire, with the Scarborough region accounting for half of this. The Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire coast are among the most desirable places to live in the dales. The average cost of a property in the Yorkshire Dales is nearly £400,000, while the weekly wage in North Yorkshire is just over £530.

This only applies to properties which sit empty for a proportion of the year. It does not however apply to holiday lets or second homes that are regularly in use. This does not solve the problem of local access to housing: it simply puts more money in the council coffers, and it seems unlikely that money will be spent in a way that benefits the people suffering as a result of the initial housing shortage. Pointless but loud gesture.

It is expected to bring in £14m each year, which would be spent on housing.


For the 22/23 financial year, the council tax on a band D property in Whitby is £2,116. That would more than quadruple to £4,232 under the new strategy.

Councillor Janet Jefferson, who represents a Scarborough district, stated that she has seen six people requested to leave their rental residences so that they might be turned to vacation homes since March.

However, councillor Stuart Pearson warned that the council would lose money if second home owners converted their houses to vacation rentals and paid a reduced rate of tax as a company rather than council tax.

“It’s the wrong way around, punishing achievers, punishing people who aspire after being pushed to do so by the Conservative Party,” he told the conference.