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. There are a number of exceptions to this, please see the notes below for an explanation. 

The table below displays the reductions that may be available to unoccupied properties. Please note that if the duration states 'No time limit', these reductions will apply all the time the property status fits the required exemption class and there are no changes to the legislation. 

Unoccupied Property Exemptions & Discounts

Description
Duration
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
50% Discount. Expires 12 months from the qualifying date irrespective of any changes in ownership
An unoccupied and substantially unfurnished dwelling
50% Discount. Please see notes
Notes
A dwelling owned by a charity and used for the furtherance of their objectives (Exemption class B)
Expires 6 months after the last day the property was occupied
 
A dwelling where the owner or tenant is serving a prison sentence or detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (Exemption class D)
No time limit
A dwelling previously the main home of an owner/tenant now permanently residing in a nursing home/hospital (Exemption class E)
No time limit
A dwelling where the owner/tenant has died (Exemption class F)
Expires at the end of their legal interest or 6 months since probate or letters of administration have been granted
A dwelling where occupation is prohibited by law (Exemption class G)
No time limit
 
A dwelling held for the use of a minister of religion from which to perform his/her duties (Exemption class H)
No time limit
 
A dwelling previously the main home of a person now living elsewhere and receiving personal care (not in a hospital or residential home) (Exemption class I)
No time limit
A dwelling previously the main home of a person now living elsewhere for the purposes of providing personal care (Exemption class J)
No time limit
A dwelling where the owner and last resident was a student (Exemption class K)
No time limit
A dwelling that has been repossessed by the mortgage lender (Exemption class L)
No time limit
Barracks, messes and married quarters used by the armed forces (Exemption class O)
No time limit
A dwelling which is the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee (Exemption class Q) No time limit   Apply
A pitch or mooring not occupied by a caravan or boat (Exemption class R) No time limit   Apply
A dwelling forming part of another property but can not be let separately (Exemption class T) No time limit Notes Apply
An annexe being used as part of the main house by the persons in the main dwelling  50% Discount. No time limit   Apply
A dwelling where the main resident is required to live and pay Council Tax elsewhere as part of an employment contract  50% Discount. No time limit Notes Apply

 

Notes

Councils are not permitted to charge the 150% premium in the following circumstances:

  • Dwellings which would be the sole or main residence of a person, but which are empty because the person is residing in accommodation provided by MOD by reason of their employment
  • Dwellings which comprise an annexe which form part of a single property which are used by the resident of that other dwelling
 
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 valid for the first 12 months, 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 6 months after the date the furniture is removed. This will change to 3 months on 1st April 2016. Any application made before April 1st will be awarded on a pro rata basis. 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 (Exemption class D)

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 previously the main home of an owner/tenant now permanently residing in a nursing home/hospital (Exemption class E)

A home is exempt when

  • it is unoccupied; and
  • it was previously lived in by the tenant(s) or owner(s) as their main home and
  • the tenant(s) or owner(s) are now living in a hospital, nursing or care home

This does not include people who spend only short periods in a hospital or care home and intend to return home. The hospital, nursing or care home must be their main home. Apply

 

A dwelling where the owner/tenant has died (Exemption class F) 

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, provided the property was solely owned by the deceased, exemption will 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.
  • A sole tenant and the exemption would be granted to the end of the tenancy.
  • The sole owner of a second home. Exemption will 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.
  • A landlord of a property that was without a tenant at the time of their death, Exemption will continue until a new tenancy is granted at the property or 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, whichever is the sooner.

Apply

 

A dwelling previously the main home of a person now living elsewhere and receiving personal care (not in a hospital or residential home) (Exemption class I)

By way of old age, disablement, illness, alcohol/drug dependence or mental disorder. Apply

 

A dwelling previously the main home of a person now living elsewhere for the purposes of providing personal care (Exemption class J)

An exemption which applies properties left unoccupied due to the liable person going to live elsewhere in order to provide care to someone in need of assistance. This could be due to their age, ill health, disability, alcohol or drug dependence or mental health. Apply

 

A dwelling where the owner and last resident was a student (Exemption class K)

An exemption which applies where the last occupier was a student. Also applicable if the property is left unoccupied to a person who is about to become a student, and does so within 6 weeks of leaving. Apply

 

A dwelling that has been repossessed by the mortgage lender (Exemption class L)

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 (Exemption class O)

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 forming part of another property but can not be let separately (Exemption class T) 

An exemption which applies to dwellings which are annexes to, or within the grounds of, the owner or tenant's home. It may not be rented separately without breaching planning permissions. Also applies as a 50% reduction to dwellings with unoccupied annexes, as long as the annexe is being used as part of the main house. 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)