Members considered a report on a locally defined discount in respect of unfurnished and unoccupied almshouses, and whether such a discount would be appropriate.
This report had been written following a motion raised at Full Council by Councillor Jeff Summers.
Since the publication of the report, the lead officer had been informed of 5 further almshouses in Gainsborough. They were all Band A Council Tax properties that could equate to over £6,000 were a full year exemption awarded.
Following this introduction and comment from Members, further information was provided:
· There were no indicators on council tax records to say that a property was an almshouse. These properties were only found by performing an address search on council tax systems;
· All almshouses qualify for a 6 month exemption whilst unoccupied and unfurnished. If after this 6 month period had elapsed the property remained empty, the almshouse could apply for section 13a hardship relief, by filling in an application and submitting financial details. Consideration would be given to the application in accordance with policy;
· All of the almshouses discovered by the lead officer were occupied. One property had been empty, but now had a resident;
Note: Councillor John McNeill left the Council Chamber at 1841.
· If a locally defined discount was decided upon, it would be the district council rather than the county council that would have to pay in full.
Note: Councillor John McNeill returned to the Council Chamber at 1842.
The Chairman moved a recommendation from the Chair that it would not be necessary to develop a policy in respect of unfurnished and unoccupied almshouses; this was seconded, and AGREED by committee.