In most circumstances you must pay full council tax even when a property is unoccupied.
Long term empty premium
Any property that is substantially empty and unfurnished for two years or more will attract an additional 100% premium on the council tax charge.
From 1 April 2020, any property substantially empty and unfurnished for five years or more attracts an empty property premium of 200%.
From 1 April 2021, any property substantially empty and unfurnished for ten years or more attracts an empty property premium of 300%.
Under the regulations there are two classes of properties which are exempt from the premium:
- a home which would otherwise be the sole or main residence of a member of the armed services, who is absent from the property as a result of such service
- a home which forms part of a single property that is being treated by a resident of that property as part of the main dwelling
Homes which are empty and in a poor state of repair remain subject to a 100% council tax charge so long as they remain assessed in the domestic banding list by the Valuation Office Agency.
The Valuation Office Agency has published guidance in respect of properties which are in disrepair or are derelict on the government website.
You can challenge your council tax band on the government website in circumstances where the above guidance outlines that the Valuation Office Agency can consider making changes to the banding list.
Under certain circumstances a second home will be entitled to a 50% discount. This is where the council tax payer is unable to live in their second home due to a specified condition in their contract of employment which stipulates that they must reside in another property.
Examples of such circumstances include:
- a publican who is required to live above their licensed premises
- a residential school caretaker
- a practicing reverend living within their diocese
- a member of the forces who has to live in armed forces accommodation
To qualify, both properties must be furnished and situated within England, Wales or Scotland and the applicant must be responsible for the council tax payment on each dwelling (Ministry of Defence accommodation and properties provided to a minister of religion for the performance of their duties are included in this payment definition).
A 50% council tax reduction, on top of any other discount, applies if the annexe:
- forms part of a single property which includes at least one other home
- is being used by a resident of that other home or is the sole or main residence of a relative of the person who is liable to pay council tax for that other dwelling
How to apply
Apply for unoccupied and unfurnished exemption or a derelict property, second home or family annex discount