Empty homes


Reductions for empty properties

Certain unoccupied dwellings can receive either an exemption or discount to the Council Tax for that property. If there is a change to the circumstances under which the exemption/discount was awarded, you must notify the council within 21 days. If you fail to notify the council within this time a penalty may be imposed. 

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

Any property which has been empty and unfurnished for a period of two years or longer will attract a premium charge, which is 150% of the full council tax rate for the band.

Unoccupied Property Exemptions & Discounts





A property that needs major repair or structural alteration

50% Discount for 12 months from the qualifying date Notes Apply

Empty and unfurnished property

50% Discount for 3 months Notes Notes

Property owned by a charity and used for the furtherance of their objectives

Expires 6 months after the last day the property was occupied   Apply

Property where the owner or tenant is in prison or detained under the Mental Health Act

No time limit Notes Apply

A property where the owner/tenant has died

Expires 6 months after probate or letters of administration Notes Apply

Property where occupation is prohibited by law

No time limit



Property held for the use of a minister of religion

No time limit



Property that has been repossessed

No time limit



British Armed forces Accommodation

No time limit



Property which is the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee

No time limit   Apply

Pitch or mooring not occupied by a caravan or boat

No time limit   Apply

Property where the resident lives and pay Council Tax elsewhere as part of an employment contract 

50% Discount. No time limit Notes Apply




An unoccupied and substantially unfurnished dwelling which requires or is undergoing major repair works to render it habitable or is undergoing structural alteration 

A 50% discount for the first 12 months from the qualifying date irrespective of any changes in ownership, after which the full bill will become payable. A visit from an inspector will be required. Apply

100% exemption may be awarded if the Council Taxpayer has experienced a crisis or event that has made their property uninhabitable for example due to fire or flooding, where they remain liable to pay Council Tax and for which they have no recourse for compensation. e.g. if you are not covered by insurance, please send us a copy of your current policy clearly showing that you are not covered for flood damage.

This exemption will be for a maximum of 1 year and will be a substitute for the standard 50% discount.


An unoccupied and substantially unfurnished dwelling

Expires 3 months after the date the furniture is removed, irrespective of any changes in liability during this time. An inspector will visit during the period of the discount. Apply


A dwelling where the owner or tenant is serving a prison sentence or detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 

An exemption which applies if the sole or main resident is held in legal detention. It does not apply if the council tax payer is imprisoned for non-payment of council tax or court fines. Apply


A dwelling where the owner/tenant has died 

This exemption relates to a dwelling left unoccupied by a deceased person (including any second home).  Liability must rest solely in the name of the deceased at the date of death and doesn’t need to have been the person’s sole or main residence.  This class will only apply in a case where no grant of probate or letters of administration has been made and less than 6 months has elapsed since the day such a grant was made. 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.




A dwelling that has been repossessed by the mortgage lender

An exemption which applies to properties that have been repossessed due to non-payment of a loan/mortgage. If the property was already unoccupied, the exemption applies from the date the mortgagee takes possession. If the property is still occupied, it will begin when the occupants move out. In either circumstance, the exemption will continue until either possession is taken or the property is sold. Apply


Barracks, messes and married quarters used by the armed forces

An exemption which applies to dwellings owned by the Secretary of State for defence and is used for UK armed forces personnel. Apply


A dwelling where the main resident is required to live and pay Council Tax elsewhere as part of an employment contract 

One of the properties must fall into one of the following categories:

A - The property is provided to you, or to your spouse/civil partner, because of your employment and it is necessary for proper performance of duties (as stated in your employment contract) i.e. tied accommodation.

B - The property is occupied as a residence from which you, or your spouse/civil partner, perform the duties of a Minister of any religious denomination.

C - You are in the armed forces and have your main residence in the UK in Ministry of Defence accommodation which is exempt from Council Tax under Class O.

This discount is not applicable:

  • If you have a second property in the locality of your place of work but you do not perform the duties of your employment from that address. There must be a direct link between your work and the property, such as caretaker, landlord of pub, schoolmaster
  • Unless both your addresses are in England, Wales or Scotland 
  • If you are not the liable person for council tax at both properties (unless the property is provided by the ministry of defence or for a minister of religion to perform his duties)
  • If you are a director or a partner in the company providing the accommodation (unless you are a full time working director/partner or the company is non-profit making or charitable)