Reductions for empty properties

Some empty homes can get an exemption or discount in Council Tax. If something changes and you no longer qualify for a discount or exemption you must let us know within 21 days. If you fail to notify us within this time a penalty of £70 may be imposed.

There are no reductions available for furnished properties which are not used as a sole or main residence (second homes).

If your property is available as self-catering and holiday let accommodation, it could be rated and valued for business rates which may qualify for small business rate relief.

Any property which is empty and unfurnished for 2 years or longer will attract a premium charge, which is a percentage of the full Council Tax rate for the band (premium percentage rates since 1 April 2022):

Time empty Percentage
Up to 2 years 0%
2 and 5 years 100%
5 and 10 years 200%
Over 10 years 300%


If you would like help in bringing an empty property back into use then please visit our empty homes guidance page.

Uninhabitable properties and Council Tax

If you think your property is derelict you can ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if they will delete it from their list. The VOA decide which properties should be charged Council Tax.

Derelict properties are those which are not wind or water-tight and need reconstruction rather than repair. Properties which require modernisation are not classed as derelict but you may be able to apply for a discount for the property being uninhabitable.

Exemptions or discounts where a property has been left empty by a person

These exemptions or discounts all relate to the status of the occupier rather than the property.

Where the owner or tenant has died

If someone dies we may be able to grant an exemption for the empty home they leave behind. This means there will be no Council Tax to pay on the empty property for a period of 6 months after Probate or Letters of Administration have been granted.

For example, the deceased could have been:

  • an owner occupier but the only resident.
  • the sole owner of a second home.
  • a landlord of a property that was without a tenant at the time of their death

Apply for a deceased person exemption 

Where the owner or tenant is in prison or detained by law

There is a Council Tax exemption for homes that are empty because the occupier is in prison or detained for mental health or immigration reasons. 

Apply for a prisoner or detained person discount

Where the owner or tenant has become bankrupt

Empty properties that are the responsibility of a person named as a trustee resulting from the bankruptcy of the previous owner may be exempt.

If you are a trustee or have a trustee acting on your behalf you can apply for this exemption. This exemption does not apply if you are the person made bankrupt and no trustee has been appointed.

Apply for the trustee in bankruptcy exemption 

Where you have to live elsewhere for work

If you have to live in a second home for your job you may be able to claim a 50% discount for it.

To qualify:

  • there must be a link between the job and your second home for example you are a pub landlord and you stay in the accommodation above the pub
  • both your main home and second home must be furnished
  • both your main home and second home must be in England or Wales

Apply for a living elsewhere for work discount

Where you have to live elsewhere for full time education

If you have moved away for studying purposes and have left your home empty you may not have to pay Council Tax for it.

To qualify:

  • the empty property must have been your only home or main home before you moved away
  • you must have started your course within 6 weeks of leaving the property
  • your course must be full time and last for at least one academic year
  • your course must take more than 24 weeks in that year and involve more than 21 hours of study each week


Apply for a living elsewhere for study exemption

Exemptions or discounts on a property

These exemptions or discounts relate to the use or status of the property.

Property that needs major repair or structural alteration

You can apply for a 50% reduction for a maximum of 12 months if your unoccupied and unfurnished property is either:

  • undergoing major repair or structural alteration
  • needs major work to make it habitable 

A visit from an inspector will be required.

Apply for the major repair discount 

Empty and unfurnished property

A 50% discount which ends 3 months after the date you removed the furniture, regardless of any changes in liability during this time. An inspector will visit during the period of the discount. 

Apply for an empty and unfurnished property discount 

Once you have been awarded this discount your bill will show the discount for the whole financial year however 21 days before the discount is due to expire a new bill will be issued.

Pitch or mooring not occupied by a caravan or boat

A caravan pitch or boat mooring is subject to Council Tax if it is used as your main or sole residence. If your pitch or mooring is not occupied by a caravan or a boat you can apply for an exemption so that you do not have to pay Council Tax.

Apply for an empty pitch or mooring exemption 

Property that has been repossessed

If your property has been repossessed, you can apply for an exemption so that you do not have to pay Council Tax.

Apply for a repossessed exemption

Property where occupation is prohibited by law

If there is a legal reason why your property cannot be lived in, you can apply for a full Council Tax exemption. You must be able to provide proof that it would be against the law to live there such as a prohibition order or closure notice.

Apply for the occupation prohibited by law exemption

Property left empty for the use of a minister of religion

If the property is left empty and a minister of religion will be moving in you may be eligible for this exemption. 

Apply for a minister of religion exemption