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Unoccupied properties and second homes

If a property isn't anyone's main home it might affect how much Council Tax is paid.

Find out about properties that are:

These are just guidelines and the rules are quite detailed, so contact us if you think this applies to your property. We can check if you qualify before you apply for any discount or exemption.


Empty properties

If a property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished there is nothing to pay for the first three months. The period can't exceed three months even if there is a change in ownership. After three months the full Council Tax charge is due.

If the property is still unoccupied and substantially unfurnished after two years a 50% premium will be charged on top of the full Council Tax bill (equivalent to a 150% charge).


Properties undergoing major repairs

If an empty property needs major repair works to make it habitable, or is undergoing structural alterations, there could be nothing to pay for the first 12 months. No discount would apply after this period and the full Council Tax will then be due.

We will ask to see proof of the work required and the discount will end early if the property is furnished or occupied. 


Second homes and holiday homes

If a property is furnished but it is no-one’s main home, the full Council Tax charge will apply.

If your property is rented out as a holiday home for 140 days or more each year, you will pay Business Rates instead of Council Tax.


Other unoccupied properties

There are various circumstances where no Council Tax will be due. Here are some examples of where an exemption may be granted. Please contact us for full details, we can check if you qualify before you apply.

When someone has died

An exemption may be given that lasts for up to six months after probate has been granted (or letters of administration have been made). An exemption will stop before the end of the six month period if the property is sold, ownership is transferred, or the tenancy ends.

The person that died must have been the only person responsible for the Council Tax bill.

When someone goes into hospital or care, or provides care to someone else

We may give an exemption if your home is unoccupied because you have moved into a residential or nursing home, or hospital. You may also qualify for an exemption if you have moved to receive care somewhere else because of disability, illness, or old age.

We may be able to award an exemption if your home is unoccupied because you have moved away to provide care for someone else.

Annexes for elderly or disabled relatives

If your home has an empty annexe (such as a 'granny flat') that would be difficult to let separately, there will be no Council Tax to pay. 

The exemption will also apply if the annexe is occupied - but only if the residents are all elderly or disabled relatives.

We may also be able to give a Council Tax exemption for an unoccupied property when:

  • it has been re-possessed under a mortgage
  • the owner is a trustee in bankruptcy
  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • it is a vacant caravan pitch or boat mooring
  • the previous resident is a student # link to student page # who has moved away to study
  • the previous resident is now in prison or is detained under the Mental Health Act
  • it is held for occupation by a minister of religion to perform their duties
  • it is owned and was last occupied by a charity (and it has been unoccupied for less than six months)

Contact us if you need any information or advice.


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Last updated on 02 June 2020