New First Minister takes aim at second home owners

Humza Yousaf promised to target second homes in Scotland, and has wasted no time with a plan to hike council tax rates.

humza scotland

New Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf (main picture) has followed up on his promise to target second homes owners.

A plan to charge more than double the full council tax charge on a second home is now being consulted on by the Government north of the border.

Yousaf has wasted no time since his election by members of the SNP to replace Nicola Sturgeon last month, in putting the controversial proposal forward.

Councils will be given powers to charge up to double the full rate of council tax on second homes from April 2024, bringing them into line with long-term empty homes.

The intention is to charge more than double the srate on both empty and second homes in future years.

We want everyone in Scotland to have an affordable home that meets their needs.”

Yousaf says: “We want everyone in Scotland to have an affordable home that meets their needs, and this work to improve the availability of sustainable long-term housing opportunities is a core part of that.

“By recognising the important role councils have in considering local needs, these proposals aim to strike a balance between good housing supply and helping communities to thrive and benefit from tourism.”

Think twice
David Alexander, CEO, DJ Alexander

The plans were quickly met with opposition. David Alexander, CEO at estate agency DJ Alexander, says: “A doubling of the full rate of council tax will certainly make many second homeowners think twice about remaining in Scotland, and many potential buyers will simply invest elsewhere in the UK.

“With the purchase of second homes already subject to a 6% higher rate of property tax north of the border charging double the rate of council tax will ensure that fewer second homeowners will come to or remain in Scotland,” he says.

“Someone buying a £350,000 second home in Scotland already pays £29,350 in Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) compared to £15,500 in the rest of the UK.”

Picture: Scottish Government


  1. More deflection tactics from the Scottish Government. The person in charge may have changed but the rhetoric has not. Great political soundbites and still ignoring the fact that most of the empty homes in Scotland are owned by Councils. The problem is not and never will be with the PRS, Second home owners or Holiday lets. It is the fact that Social Housing numbers have never increased in over 20 years and that there are nearly 200,000 households on waiting lists. This is actually something the Scottish Government could do something about but it sounds better to go after “greedy” landlords and “rich” holiday home owners. They have no idea that doing this actually makes no difference to the overall housing stock and for every landlord that leaves the sector tenants have to find somewhere else to live in a shrinking supply and increasing monthly rent. The councils have no capacity to take anyone, no money to refurb the empty ones to bring them back into use and rely on house builders to give them new units and affordable homes as part of planning approvals. Unfortunately those same builders are now looking South to a more favourable planning and tax treatment regime. We should be looking to incentivise landlords and business to increase supply but that goes against Patrick Harvie and the Greens policies.

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