Empty Properties

Empty Property Discount

If the property is unoccupied and unfurnished a 100% discount is entitled for one month. Following this, a full charge is payable on the property.                       

If the property has benefited from this discount and has not been fully furnished or occupied for more than 42 days since it was granted no further discount will be awarded.

Since 1 April 2019  

If a property has been empty and unfurnished for a period of two years or more we apply a 100% premium on the Council Tax charge, doubling the annual charge for the property until such time as the property becomes tenanted or sold.

Empty property exemptions
  • A property owned by a charity and last used for charitable purposes will be exempt for up to six months
  • Where the owner of the empty property is in prison. The property must have been their main home immediately before going into prison. No time limit applies
  • Left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or home. No time limit applies
  • When waiting for probate or letters of administrations to be granted as the sole owner or tenant has died, and for up to six months thereafter. Not applicable if there is a sole beneficiary of the estate
  • When the property is empty due to compulsory purchase, occupation is prohibited by law or where planning restrictions do not allow occupation. No time limit applies
  • When the property is waiting to be lived in by a minister of religion
  • Left empty by someone who is providing care somewhere else, no one else must live in the property. No time limit applies
  • Left empty by students who live elsewhere to carry out their studies. One of the students would have had to be responsible for payment of the Council Tax. He/she must have been a student for the whole time since it has his/her home
  • Properties that are repossessed and in possession of a mortgage lender
Structural alterations and repairs

If your property needs, or is undergoing structural alterations or major repair work to make it habitable, you may get a 50% discount for up to 12 months.

To get this discount, the property must be unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. After the 12-month period has expired, you will have to pay 100% Council Tax, even if the work has still not been completed.

A substantially unfurnished property is when sufficient furniture has been removed to leave the property incapable of occupation. As a minimum, beds, chairs, tables, wardrobes, cabinets, televisions and personal effects would be expected to be removed.

Making structural alterations' means to change the fabric of the property which should prevent occupation, including the alteration or removal of a supporting, load bearing wall.

Major repair works mean that the work needed must be carried out before the property can be lived in. The property must be uninhabitable before any work starts. We will need to inspect the property before the work commences to assess your entitlement to the discount.

Major works include:

  • Underpinning
  • Total replacement of floors including new joists
  • Damp-proof membrane throughout the property
  • Total replacement of ceilings or roof including new joists/timbers
  • Total re-plastering (back to brickwork) of the entire walls of the majority of the property

Any qualifying discount can be claimed for a maximum of 12 months. After the 12 months, you must pay the full charge, even if the work has not been finished.

The discount will not be awarded retrospectively unless there are exceptional circumstances. Failure to notify us when the work started does not qualify as exceptional circumstances.


Please complete the form below and return to the Revenues team.

This discount does not cover situations where a property has outdated features, fittings and fixtures. The absence of a kitchen, bathroom or connection of services does not qualify for a discount because this is not classed as major. The total cost of the works is not a determining factor as to whether you will be granted a discount for the work.

Empty Property Premium

Since 1st April 2019, if a property has been empty and unfurnished for a period of two years or more we apply a 100% premium on the Council Tax charge, doubling the annual charge for the property until such time as the property becomes tenanted or sold.

This decision has been made in conjunction with legislation introduced by the government in 2012 and revised in 2018. (The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018).

There are two exceptions to this charge:

  • A dwelling which is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces who is absent from the property as a result of such service
  • An annexe deemed unoccupied because it is being treated by the occupier of the main dwelling as part of that main property
Last updated 3 May 2024
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