If you own an empty property you still have to pay council tax on that property. If the property has been empty for more than two years, there is an additional council tax charge, known as a premium.
Properties empty up to six months
For a property which is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished a discount applies for the first six months - 100% for the first week, then 40% for the remainder of the period.
If ownership changes with this six month period, the discount doesn't start again. The new owner is entitled to whatever remains of the original discount period. Any period of occupation of less than six weeks is ignored.
Properties empty between six months and two years
After a property has been empty for six months, the full council tax charge becomes payable.
Properties empty between two and five years
After two years an unoccupied and unfurnished property is charged two times the amount of council tax as an occupied property. This is a 100% premium
Properties empty for more than five years
After five years a further premium is applied and an unfurnished property is charged three times the amount of council tax as an occupied property. This is a 200% premium
Help for owners of empty homes
We can provide further information and advice about bringing empty homes back into use.
An unoccupied property that is, or has recently been, the subject of major repair works or structural alteration is entitled to a 50% discount for up to 12 months. The discount lasts until the earlier date of:
- six months after completion of the alterations if the property stays unoccupied and substantially unfurnished, or
- 12 months from the date the discount started if the property stays unoccupied and substantially unfurnished
Unoccupied and furnished properties and second homes
If no-one lives in a property, and it remains furnished, full council tax is payable. This applies to most holiday and second homes. A 50% discount applies however, if either
- the dwelling is a pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat or;
- you are required to live in another specific property and it is a condition in your contract of employment
Exemptions for empty properties
Some empty properties such as those owned by a charity, an unoccupied annexe, someone in a care home or receiving care elsewhere are fully exempt from charge.