RESIDENTS owning second homes in Solihull are to be hit in the pocket after council tax discount reductions were announced.
Cash-strapped Solihull Council have said from April 2009 the discount for homeowners fitting the criteria will fall from the current 50 per-cent rate to just 10 per-cent.
Also those who currently receive a discount of 50 per-cent on their council tax bill for owning a property which has been empty and unfurnished for more than six months will now have no discount and will have to pay the full rate.
Councillor Ken Hawkins stressed that the council have been planning this change for some time.
The cabinet member for resources said empty homes were a 'blight on the borough'.
"While we appreciate that some people take good care of a second home, some are left empty, with no maintenance, and become ugly eyesores that attract vandalism," he said.
The new reduction rate is part of the council's empty homes strategy and is aimed at reducing the borough's current 1,300 empty properties and bringing them back into occupation.
"We'd like to see these homes brought into play for borough residents," he said.
"We hope that by adjusting the rate of council tax on these homes, owners will take responsibility and do the right thing."
Anyone who may be affected by these changes and would like more information can call the Council on 021 704 6000.