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Guide Council Tax discounts and exemptions information

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7. Empty property discounts

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties - class C discount

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

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

An additional premium of 50 per cent will be added when the property has been continuously empty for two years unless:

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

Council Tax – Changes to long term empty homes premium

Following recent changes in legislation, East Devon District Council agreed at its Full Council meeting on 12 December 2018 to increase the amount of additional Council Tax that can be charged to properties that have been continuously empty* for more than 2 years. The current premium is 50% in addition to the full Council Tax charge. This will change as follows:

  • From April 2019 onwards to charge a 100% premium
  • From April 2020 onwards to increase the premium to 200% for properties that have been empty for more than 5 years.
  • From April 2021 onwards to increase the premium to 300% for properties that have been empty for more than 10 years.

*An empty property for Council Tax purpose is a property that is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. Certain exclusions apply.

How to apply 

  • email counciltax@eastdevon.gov.uk
  • telephone 01395 517446
  • write to Council Tax, East Devon District Council, Blackdown House, Border Road, Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton, EX14 1EJ

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. 

Examples

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.

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.

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.

Building Regulations approval

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

How to apply

  • Email counciltax@eastdevon.gov.uk
  • Telephone 01395 517446
  • Write to Council Tax, East Devon District Council, Blackdown House, Border Road, Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton, EX14 1EJ

Retrospective applications will be considered. We will require evidence of the completed works such as receipts and photos and a list of works.

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.

Empty properties can also be exempt from paying Council Tax.