OWNERS of long-term empty homes will pay more council tax from April under new rules approved by Bradford Council yesterday.

The scheme, under new plans to bring more homes back into use, will see double council tax charged on homes empty for at least two years.

In 2020, this will increase to three times for properties empty for five years, and then from 2021, homes empty for at least ten years will be charged four times the standard council tax.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, told the Council’s executive committee that they had made good progress at reducing the number of empty homes in the district in recent years.

But he added this would act as an incentive for the owners of long-term empty homes to bring them back into use.

There are currently 4,100 long-term empty homes in Bradford.