Second Homes Discount & Long Term Empty Properties
Some dwellings are exempt from council tax. These include dwellings occupied wholly by students and most empty dwellings. There are several classes of exemption, some of which only apply for a specified length of time.
Second homes, defined as a furnished dwelling which is no one’s sole or main residence, do not receive a council tax discount full council tax is payable.
Exceptions to the full council tax being payable are properties which are occupied as a condition of employment. The job-related discount for these properties is 50 per cent. To qualify for this discount you must provide evidence of the following:
- You are liable for council tax for another property (a copy of a recent council tax demand will suffice)
- The property for which you wish to claim the discount, has been provided for you by your employer
- Evidence that your contract of employment requires you to live in that property.
Long term empty properties
If your property has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you are required to pay an empty home premium, on top of the full council tax charge for your property.
- 100 per cent from 1 April 2019 for those properties which are empty for 2 years and over, so you will have to pay 200 per cent of the full council tax charge.
- 200 per cent from 1 April 2020 for those properties which are empty for 5 years and over, so you will have to pay 300 per cent of the full council tax charge.
From 1 April 2021, the premium will increase to 300 per cent if your property has been empty for 10 years, you would have to pay 400 per cent of the full council tax charge.
Please note that any information supplied may be used by the council to identify vacant dwellings or take steps to encourage vacant dwellings back into use, in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992
The following are types of dwelling which may be exempt from council tax
If you think you qualify for a discount, or you would like further information, please contact the council tax team (see contacts section of this page).
Unoccupied exempt dwelling classes
A - Dwellings which are uninhabitable/undergoing repair were previously exempt (for up to 12 months). Since 1 April 2013 this exemption class ceased to exist. Instead, a discount of 50 per cent is given for up to a maximum duration 12 months and zero per cent discount thereafter..
B - Dwellings owned by charities (may be exempt for up to six months)
C - Unoccupied/unfurnished dwellings were previously exempt (for up to six months). Since 1 April 2013 this exemption class ceased to exist. Instead, a discount of 25 per cent was given for up to a maximum duration of 6 months and zero per cent discount thereafter.
From 1 April 2014 this has changed again and now a discount of 100% is given but for a maximum duration of up to one month. Full council tax liability resumes after the one month discount period has expired.
Where an unoccupied and unfurnished dwelling has already received the previous 25 per cent discount for more than one calendar month on 1 April 2014, it receives zero discount. Where it has received the discount for less than one calendar month on 1 April 2014, it shall receive a 100 per cent discount for the number of days required to reach one calendar month and then zero per cent discount thereafter. These steps are being taken to encourage unoccupied dwellings back into use.
D Dwellings left unoccupied by people in prison (except for non-payment of council tax or a fine)
E Dwellings left unoccupied by long-stay hospital patients and also by people who move permanently into a nursing home or residential home
F Dwellings left unoccupied by deceased persons where grant of probate / letters of administration has not been obtained, and for a period of 6 months after such grant has been obtained
G Dwellings where occupation is prohibited by law
H Dwellings held vacant for a minister of religion
I Dwellings left unoccupied by people receiving care
J Dwellings left unoccupied by people providing care
K Dwellings left unoccupied by students
L Unoccupied dwellings where the mortgagee has repossessed
Q Unoccupied dwellings in the possession of a trustee in bankruptcy
R A dwelling consisting of a pitch or a mooring which is not occupied by a caravan, or, as the case may be, a boat
T Dwellings forming part of another dwelling which cannot be let separately
Classification for council tax exemption on occupied properties
M Students Halls of Residence
N Dwellings occupied wholly by students
O Armed Forces accommodation
P Visiting Forces accommodation
S Dwellings occupied only by a person or persons aged under 18
U Dwellings occupied only by a person or persons who is, or are, severely mentally impaired
V Dwellings occupied by diplomats, persons who have diplomatic immunity and certain members of their household
W Dwellings which form part of a single property and which are occupied by an elderly, severely mentally impaired or disabled relative of a person which lives in the other part of the property
The above groups are stated in broad terms. Within each of the classes a number of conditions may need to be met before the exemption is satisfied.
How to claim
If you disagree with the council's decision about an exemption, you can contact us explaining what you object to and why. See Appeals.
If your bill indicates that an exemption has been allowed, you must inform the Council Tax team of any change in circumstances that affects your entitlement. If you fail to do so, you may have to pay a penalty.
Last reviewed: 13 - 02 - 2020