If a property is empty, you may be able to get a Council Tax exemption.
You can apply for an exemption if the property is empty for any of the following reasons.
An unoccupied property may be exempt if the person who is liable for paying the Council Tax bill has died and probate (the legal right to deal with a deceased person's property) or letters of administration have not been granted.
This exemption will end 6 months after you've been granted probate, or if the property is sold, transferred or occupied.
If the property is jointly owned and only one of the owners has died, the property will not be exempt.
To qualify, the person must have moved to provide care more easily and now live with or live closer to the person they’re caring for.
To qualify the care must be needed because of old age, disability, illness, drug or alcohol dependence or mental illness. The care can’t be provided in a care home or hospital.
If a property has been left empty by a student and the student is liable to pay the Council Tax bill, the property will be exempt.
The exemption will end when the property is occupied.
The exemption only applies if the move is permanent and there is no plan to move back home.
Apply for an unoccupied property exemption
If someone you live with has gone into hospital, care or nursing home you can apply for a single person discount if you now live alone.
If a property will be exempt if it has been left empty as the owner or tenant is in prison or elsewhere by order of a court.
This does not including those in prison for non-payment of Council Tax or a fine.
If a property is unoccupied and the person liable to pay the Council Tax is a trustee in bankruptcy, it will be exempt.
If a property is empty because the occupation of the property is prohibited by law it could be exempt from Council Tax.
The property will be exempt for any of the following reasons:
- a planning condition restricts occupation
- occupation is prohibited while an order is obtained to prevent occupation or compulsorily purchase the property.
This does not apply to properties where private action between individuals to prevent occupation is being taken or where properties are occupied illegally such as by squatters.
This exemption means you will not have to pay any Council Tax for up to 3 months.
After 3 months, the full amount of Council Tax will be charged. If you become liable for a property that has already been empty for more than 3 months you will not be able to claim a further three month reduction.
From 1 April 2020, if a property has been unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 or more years, you’ll be charged an additional 100% of your Council Tax (if your yearly Council Tax is £1,500 it will increase to £3,000). If it has remained empty for 5 years or more, you’ll be charged an additional 200%. For properties that have been empty for at least 10 years, the premium will increase to 300%.
From 1 April 2020, if your property is unoccupied but furnished there is no discount available.
For periods prior to 1 April 2020 you can claim a 10% discount.
If your property is unoccupied and requires major repair work to make it liveable or if it’s being structurally altered, you won’t have to pay Council Tax for up to 12 months.
We’ll visit the property to see if it meets the criteria for a discount.
If a property is left empty because it is awaiting religious occupation it could be exempt from council tax.
To qualify the property must be waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion for them to carry out their duties.
If a property is owned by a charity it will be exempt for up to 6 months from the date it became unoccupied.
This is as long as it was being used for the purposes of the charity up to that time.
The property can be furnished or unfurnished.
Your property will be exempt from Council Tax if it is:
- an empty pitch or mooring (class R) where the caravan or boat has been removed from the site
- a formally repossessed property (class L) where the lender of the mortgage (usually a bank or building society) has taken possession of the property.
An unoccupied annexe is exempt if it can't be let separately from the other building without planning permission.
Complete a discount form for unoccupied properties
Unoccupied annexes used as part of the other property
If an annexe is not occupied but is used with the other property as part of the same main residence, a 50% discount can be claimed.
Email email@example.com for further details.