People who own homes in Manchester that are empty for more than two years of time will be charged massive premiums on their council tax bills.
Town hall chiefs have also approved plans to abolish discounts for properties empty in the short term. properties.
Bosses hope the changes will prevent homes in the city becoming – and staying – empty.
Long term empty homeowners already pay a 50 per cent premium on their council tax, meaning they pay at a rate of 150pc.
Under the proposals approved by the council’s executive, homes empty for two years or more will be charged a 100pc premium from April.
Those empty for more than five years will pay a 200pc premium in 2020.
And in 2021, properties which have been empty for more than 10 years will pay a 300 pc premium.
The move could raise anything between £195,700 and £575,500, council officers reckon.
Exemptions to the hike will include people living in armed forces accommodation for work; properties ‘genuinely’ offered for sale; and when a property is empty due to the death of a previous occupant.
There are currently 438 homes in the city that have been empty and unfurnished for more than two years.
That number has fallen dramatically since 2012, when the figure stood at 1,300.
In 2013, the initial 50pc premium on properties empty for two years or more was introduced.
A council report read: “This will have a positive impact for the council by offering a financial incentive to avoid properties being empty and unoccupied and will increase revenue to the council.”
Councillor Carl Ollerhead said: “The money which is raised from this will support the welfare provision scheme and will support the residents that need it the most.”
Bosses signed off sign off on a proposal that removes an existing council tax discount on short term empty properties.
Since 2013, the town hall has offered a 100pc discount for up to a month when a property initially becomes unoccupied and unfurnished.
Last year, that discount was applied more than 9,000 times, with the council losing out on £635,000.
Since 2012, the council has provided a 50pc discount for up to one year when a property was undergoing ‘major repairs’ or certain structural changes – which last year lost the council £166,745.
Liberal Democrat leader Coun John Leech highlighted that a large chunk of respondents to the public consultation – some 37 pc – said they opposed the loss of discount.
Council officer Fiona Ledden said some landlords said it may prevent them from carrying out refurbishment, but others said it would encourage them to work on repairs more quickly.
“You’re going to get that from private landlords,” she added.
The hikes in council tax premiums on empty properties were more popular with people who responded to the consultation, with 76pc backing the plan.