Discounts for empty or unoccupied properties

Sometimes you may not have to pay council tax, if an exemption applies. Most of these apply when a property is empty, but sometimes occupied premises are exempt. Exemptions are grouped into classifications B to W (Classes A and C having been abolished), determined by the property’s particular circumstance.

These following exemptions currently exist:

Empty properties

Empty properties receive a 100% discount for the first 28 days after they become unoccupied and unfurnished, up to 31 March 2020.

From 1 April 2020, when a property becomes empty and unfurnished, 100% council tax will become due and payable. This was agreed at Strategy & Resource Committee on 23 January 2020.

If it remains empty for more than two years, an extra 50% additional premium is charged up to 31 March 2020. From 1 April 2020, the additional premium for a property that is empty for over 2 years will be charged an additional 100% of the standard tax council tax due. This will continue until the property is no longer unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. 

To clarify further with regards to additional changes to long term empty homes:

  • From April 2020 onwards to charge a 100% premium on an empty and unfurnished property over 2 years.
  • From April 2020 onwards to increase the premium to 200% for properties that have been empty for more than 5 years.

Exemptions with a time limit

  • Class B - empty properties owned by a charity and last used for charitable purposes are exempt for up to six months.
  • Class F - properties left empty because the person liable to council tax has died are exempt for up to six months after the grant of probate or letters of administration.

Empty properties that are exempt as long as they are unoccupied

  • Class D - properties left empty by people who are in prison or detained under the Mental Health Act.
  • Class E - properties left empty by people who have gone to live in a hospital or home to receive care.
  • Class G - properties where occupation is forbidden by law by virtue of powers granted under act of parliament or because of a planning restriction.
  • Class H - empty properties such as vicarages, kept for a minister of religion.
  • Class I - properties left empty because the liable person has gone to live elsewhere to receive personal care.
  • Class J - property left empty because the liable person has gone to live elsewhere to provide personal care to another person.
  • Class K - property left empty because the liable person is a qualifying student who is living elsewhere.
  • Class L - properties that have been repossessed by a mortgage lender.
  • Class Q - properties where the person who has possession is a trustee in bankruptcy.
  • Class R - a caravan pitch without a caravan.
  • Class T - a home which is part of another home, for example an annexe, and where separate occupation from the main home is not allowed by planning controls.

Properties that are exempt while occupied

  • Class M - student halls of residence.
  • Class N - properties occupied only by qualifying students.
  • Class O - armed forces accommodation.
  • Class P - properties occupied by visiting forces or members of international defence organisations, or their dependents.
  • Class S - properties where all the occupiers are aged under 18.
  • Class U - properties occupied only by people who are severely mentally impaired who would otherwise be liable to pay Council Tax.
  • Class V - properties occupied by diplomats.
  • Class W - properties with a separate flat or annex where one part of the property is occupied by an elderly or disabled relative of the owner, who lives in the other part. The main property may be exempt if the occupiers are elderly or disabled relatives of the people living in the annexe.

To apply for an exemption please complete our council tax discount form.

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