Scrap it. Every owner of every home in the country pays, regardless of whether this is a main residence or second home, and regardless of whether it is occupied or empty.
The additional income would be a useful top-up to local council funds, and the effect of making everybody pay would help iron out some of the problems caused by landlords leaving properties empty for year after year, and it would make it less attractive for the wealthy to destroy communities by snapping up housing and leaving it empty for most of the year. There would also be a small administrative gain – no need to check on the actual status of a home if every home is paying tax with no exceptions.
Why is this idea important?
Because there have been problems in the housing market for years which have been fuelled, in part, by speculation and buy-to-let.
Widening the remit of the tax would act as a brake on these problems, and reduce the speed at which a property bubble might form – it would encourage people to view bricks and mortar as a potential home, rather than as a potential moneymaker. It would also encourage owners to ensure their properties are occupied at all times, therefore helping towards reducing homelessness.