A property is unoccupied for council tax purposes if it is no one's sole or main residence. This includes property which is furnished for example, second homes.
Discounts for unoccupied furnished properties
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:
- the dwelling is a pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat
- you are required to live in another specific property and it is a condition in your contract of employment
Discounts for unoccupied unfurnished properties
Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished property qualifies for a discount for the first six months, 100% for the first week, then 40% for the remainder of the period. After six months full council tax becomes due.
If the property is still unoccupied and unfurnished after two years, a 125% council tax charge is payable.
If ownership changes in the six month period the new owner is entitled to whatever remains of the original discount period. Any period of occupation of less than six weeks is ignored.
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 a maximum of 12 months. If the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished the discount lasts until the earlier date of:
- six months after completion of the alterations, or
- 12 months from the date the discount started
Properties left empty after someone has died are usually exempt from council tax until either six months after probate has been granted or someone else becomes responsible for the property.
Some unoccupied properties are totally exempt from council tax. More details can be found on the Unoccupied property discount or exemption form
Page last updated 06/11/2017