Empty Properties and Second Homes

Empty properties include properties which are left unoccupied and are either furnished or unfurnished.

  • Premiums – From 1st April 2019 a premium will be introduced on properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for a period of 2 years or more. This will apply to all unoccupied property, a place where no one lives, including those that have previously been classed as ‘uninhabitable’ that received a relevant discount or exemption.

    The premium of 100% will be charged in addition to the council tax that would otherwise be due. Any period of occupancy that does not exceed 6 weeks will be disregarded when considering whether the property has been vacant for two years or more.

    This additional charge will be presented on the front of the Council Tax bill, if it is applicable.

  • Discounts - The person liable to pay the council tax will pay the full charge where a property is unoccupied and furnished. From 1 April 2019 there will be no 1 month discount for properties which are unoccupied and unfurnished.
  • Discount for Major Repair Works or Structural Alterations - Properties that require major repair works to render them habitable or are undergoing structural alteration may be eligible to a 100% discount for a maximum period of up to one year. The discount can only be considered if the property is unoccupied and unfurnished. Subject to the one year maximum the discount can continue once the works have been completed for up to 6 months provided the property remains empty. If you would like to apply for the discount please complete the uninhabitable application form.

  • Exemptions - Sometimes an exemption can apply to vacant/unoccupied properties. Exemptions can apply for an indefinite period until someone else moves in, or for a limited time.
  • Unoccupied Property Exemptions

    The following properties qualify for an exemption. Where indicated the exemptions have a time limit. Please note that from the 1st April 2013 the Class A and C exemptions were replaced by discounts: 

    Class Description  
    B Unoccupied and owned by a charity. 6 months time limit
    D Left unoccupied as person in detention (prison)
    E Left unoccupied as person living permanently in care home or hospital
    F Left unoccupied as person died. 6 months limit from grant of probate/letter of administration
    G Unoccupied as prohibited by law
    H Unoccupied pending Minister of Religion moving in
    I Left unoccupied as person living permanently elsewhere to receive care
    J Left unoccupied as person living permanently elsewhere to provide care
    K Left unoccupied by student, as studying elsewhere
    L Unoccupied as repossessed (mortgagee is in possession)
    Q Property left empty by a bankrupt person
    R Unoccupied caravan pitch or houseboat mooring
    T Unoccupied annexe, which cannot be let separately from main home without breach of Planning legislation

    The above list of exemptions does not detail all of the criteria required to obtain a reduction in Council Tax. If you believe you qualify for any of the above exemptions then please contact the Local Taxes section for further information.

    When a property qualifies for an exemption it will be regularly inspected or the exemption will be reviewed, to ensure the exemption awarded is correct.

  • How do I apply for an exemption?

    To apply for an exemption please complete the online form at the bottom of this page.

    We will need to see Student Certificates for all residents if you are applying for Class K or N. We check each year that you are still entitled to the exemption. Please do not wait for this review to advise us of changes.

  • Keeping us informed

    We regularly inspect vacant/unoccupied properties. However you must still tell us when there is a change of circumstances, for instance if someone has moved in or you have sold the property.