An MHK says owners of rundown buildings should pay rates.

Jason Moorhouse is putting forward a motion to Tynwald to make owners pay higher rates on properties that are ‘uninhabitable’.

He is suggesting an increase of 20% ‘compounded’ to try to encourage homeowners of dilapidated houses to renovate.

This means that potentially, those who own uninhabitable properties could pay more rates than those who own properties in good condition.

Mr Moorhouse said: ‘It’s not a common problem in Arbory, Castletown and Malew, but it’s an ongoing one. It’s one I’m probably contacted about at least every four or five weeks.

‘It’s made especially frustrating if you’ve got an empty house or other building that is looking unattractive and potentially dangerous and the owners ask for their rates to be removed.’


Examples of such buildings are the abandoned buildings on Finch Road and Well Road Hill, in Douglas, which have had multiple applications approved or rejected since 2006 but all permitted planning suggestions have expired.

Plans by property developer Dandara, first approved for the site, 38-40b Finch Road and 19-21 Well Road Hill, in 2008, sought an office building and cafe.

A changed application in 2011 removed the cafe element.

Despite renewing the application for another four years in 2015, this period has now expired meaning there appears to be no plans currently active.

Mr Moorhouse says there are 6,000 empty properties in the island and this motion would be a ‘doable’ solution.

He continued: ‘I thought as a starter this motion has a lot of positives and it’ll be interesting how the Council of Ministers respond in terms of how we tweak this and take it forward or can we take it forward as it is.

‘The commissioners are kind of despairing to do all the work and then the letter from the Treasury comes up saying that, from April 1, this owner will no longer be paying rates, and it comes down to basically because they can’t actually live in that house, it’s not habitable.

‘If I’ve got someone complaining about a building, and at the same time the buildings’ owners are just saying “well, we’re maintaining it safely”, but they’re not contributing to the community with the rates payments, something is wrong that needs to be looked at.’

Mr Moorhouse hopes that this move will motivate the homeowners to take action in making these houses habitable again.

He said: ‘All this can do is give those owners, or whoever’s owning the land, that notion to actually do something.

‘At the moment with the rising house prices, you’ve got a situation where the longer you actually hold on to that property, the greater the returns you get.

‘Even though it may be crumbling and rundown and unattractive, as a base value, that’s going to be going up.’