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Empty Properties

Empty/unoccupied properties

The Council charges the full Council Tax for properties that are unoccupied (this includes empty properties and properties that are furnished but are not anyone's main home).

There is no reduction in the Council Tax for properties that have recently become unoccupied or for properties that are in need of or undergoing repairs. This includes repairs that are considered necessary to make the property habitable.

Council Tax Premium

An extra premium is also charged where a property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more.

From 1 April 2019 the premium was increased from 50% to 100% and the table below details the premiums to be charged for the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years:

Property Unoccupied for 2019/2020 2020/2021 2021/2022 Onwards
2 to 5 years

100%
100% 100%
5 to 10 years
200%
200%
10 years or more 300%

There are circumstances where it may not be appropriate to charge a premium and following consultation a premium will not be charged in the following circumstances:

New Owners

A premium will not be charged for a period of up to six months where a new owner acquires a property and is undertaking work to make the property suitable for someone to live in.

The six month period shall commence on the date of change of ownership regardless of whether this date is prior to the date at which a premium first becomes payable.

The period during which a premium will not be charged will end at the sooner of:

  1. The day the property becomes occupied, or
  2. The day the property is substantially furnished, or
  3. Six months from the date of change of ownership

Only one six month period will be allowed during any continuous period during which the property has been unoccupied.

At the end of the six month period the premium shall be charged at the appropriate rate determined by the day on which the property first became unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.

In exceptional circumstances the period may be extend for up to a further six months where the owner can demonstrate that the work required to make the property habitable is so extensive that it could not reasonably be completed within six months by an owner with the necessary means to appoint a suitably qualified person or company to carry out the work.

Property owned by members of the armed forces

No premium shall be charged in respect of a property which is owned or jointly owned by a member of the armed forces who is intending to occupy the property at the end of an assignment or posting.

Persons Lacking Mental Capacity and their Representatives

Where the person liable to pay the Council Tax lacks the mental capacity to manage the property no premium shall be charged:

  1. During any period during which the person does not have a formally appointed person to manage their affairs (including the property);
  2. For a period of 6 months following the formal appointment of a person to manage their affairs (including the property).

Hardship and other Exceptional Circumstances

The Council has a policy for awarding discretionary Council Tax reductions in exceptional circumstances under section 13a of the Local government Finance Act 1992. Where a discretionary Council Tax reduction is awarded no premium will be imposed in respect of the period for which the discretionary reduction is awarded.

Second homes

The full Council Tax is charged for a second home (that is any property that is furnished but is not anyone's main home). Where a person is required to have two homes as a condition of their job they may be entitled to 50% discount. If you are eligible for the discount download the application to apply (PDF).