Guide Council Tax discounts and exemptions information

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8. Empty property discounts

For Council Tax purposes, an empty property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. Certain exclusions apply. Empty properties can also be exempt from paying Council Tax.

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties - class C discount - To qualify, the property must be both unoccupied and unfurnished. You get a 100% discount for up to three months. When the three months finishes we class it as "long-term empty" and you pay 100%. 

As this discount relates to the property, if there is a change in liable person, the new liable party is only entitled to any remaining part of the three month period, as appropriate.

Long term empty properties premium

From 1 April 2024 you will be charged a Council Tax premium (a higher charge) if the property has been empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) for 1 yearor more. You pay the full charge plus an additional premium of:

  • 100% where property has been empty for 1 to 5 years (this was 2 to 5 years before 1 April 2024)
  • 200% where property has been empty for 5 to 10 years 
  • 300% where property has been empty for more than 10 years. 

unless the property is:

  • empty because the person resides in accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence
  • an annexe to the main house which is being used as part of the main residence. 

The government intends to introduce additional exceptions  from April 2025. These exceptions and how to apply for them will be shared here when available. In the meantime you can review the government consultation.

Apply for or cancel a class C discount

By law you must tell within 21 days of any change that may affect your entitlement to this discount. To falsely claim a discount is a criminal offence and we may prosecute.

Unoccupied property undergoing or requiring major structural alterations or repairs - class D discount - A property which requires major repair work to make it habitable may be eligible for this discount. You get a 50% discount for:

  • up to twelve months, or
  • up to six months after the completion of works, to the maximum twelve month period. 

For example:
Case 1: a Class D discount is granted but works are completed after three months. You will only receive a further six months discount from the date work is completed so the discount will apply for up to nine months.
Case 2: a Class D discount is granted and works take nine months to complete. In this case the discount would last up to the full twelve month period.

Before the discount can be awarded we need you to provide evidence of the works that need to be done or are underway. This evidence could include photographs, builders statements, proof of purchase of materials.  An inspection of the property to check the works may be required; we will advise you of this. We will consider retrospective applications but will require evidence of the works as above.

Each case is considered on an individual basis taking into consideration the physical condition of the property and the nature of the work that is needed.

This discount ends immediately if the property becomes occupied or furnished.

Please be aware that Building Regulations is required for most building works and renovation projects. We recommend that you contact Building Control.

Apply for or cancel a class D discount

By law you must tell within 21 days of any change that may affect your entitlement to this discount. To falsely claim a discount is a criminal offence and we may prosecute.