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Empty properties and council tax

There is no council tax reduction for empty properties, unless special conditions apply.

Vacant dwellings do not incur council tax if they:

  • are owned by a charity (exempt for up to 6 months)
  • are left empty by someone who has gone into prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine)
  • are left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital/home or elsewhere
  • are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and up to 6 months after)
  • are empty because their occupation is prohibited by law
  • are waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • are left empty by someone living elsewhere because they are providing personal care to another person
  • are left empty by students
  • have been repossessed
  • are the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee
  • are caravan pitches or boat moorings
  • are dwellings in the form of an annexe to another occupied dwelling

If your bill shows a long-term empty premium and you think that your property is in one of the categories above please contact us straight away.

Additional premium for empty properties

If your property has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you must pay an empty home premium on top of the full Council Tax charge for your property.

What the empty homes premium is for

The empty homes premium is an incentive to landlords to ensure properties are occupied as soon as possible and not left empty.

Empty homes premium rates

If a property is unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years (and is not exempt) it will be subject to double the normal rate of council tax.

If a property has been empty for more than 5 years, it will be subject to three times the normal rate of council tax.

If a property has been empty for more than 10 years, it will be subject to four times the normal rate of council tax.

Who has to pay the premium

The premium applies to the property. A change of ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium. If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay the premium.

If the premium affects you we will write to you and send you a new Council Tax bill.

You must pay the premium if your property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more unless your property:

  • is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away from the property as a result of their service; or
  • forms part of a single property, for example, an annexe.