We normally continue to charge Council Tax on empty properties. 

There are discounts and exemptions for certain circumstances. You can find out if you’re eligible and how to apply below.

Long Term Empty Property Premium

If your property is left empty for 2 years or more, you will pay a 100% long term empty property premium. This means the property will be subject to a 200% Council Tax charge. 

The 2 year period starts from when the property first becomes empty and not from when there is a change of ownership. For example, if you buy a property that has already been empty for 6 months, you will be liable for the premium after a further 18 months.

From 01 April 2019, the following increases to Long Term Empty Premiums will be applied:

  • properties empty for longer than 2 years will increase from 50% to 100% with effect from 1 April 2019
  • properties empty for longer than 5 years will increase from 100% to 200% with effect from 1 April 2020
  • properties empty for longer than 10 years will increase from 200% to 300% with effect from 1 April 2021

Unoccupied and Unfurnished Properties

There is no discount or exemption for unoccupied or unfurnished properties. This includes unoccupied or unfurnished properties undergoing major works, repair, or structural alterations.

The discount that used to be awarded for this ended on 1 April 2019.

Discounts and exemptions for empty properties

You’ll need to know your Council Tax account number to apply for these discounts and exemptions. You can find it at the top of your paper bill or in MyAccount.

Waiting to be occupied for a minister of religion (exempt class H)

You may not have to pay Council Tax on a property that’s waiting for a minister of religion to live in it.

The property needs to be where they’ll perform the duties of their office.

Apply for a minister of religion exemption

In hospital, care home or nursing home (exempt class E)

A taxpayer may be exempt from paying Council Tax if they’re living permanently in a care/nursing home or hospital as their main residence. 

The exemption will apply from the date that the person left their property to move into the care home, nursing home or hospital. 

It will only apply if the person has no intention of returning to their property. If the person does return to the property, the exemption will be cancelled. A Council Tax charge will apply from when they left their property. 

What you'll need 

You’ll need to provide a letter from the nursing/care home or hospital that confirms the placement is permanent and the date the person moved in.

Apply for an in-hospital, care home or nursing home exemption.

Moved to give or receive care (exempt class I and J)

 

Moved to another property to receive care (exempt class I)

A previous owner or tenant may be exempt from paying Council Tax if they’ve moved to another property to receive care. 

This can include care for:

  • old age
  • illness
  • disablement
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • mental health conditions

Apply for getting care somewhere else exemption

Moved to care for someone else (exempt class J)

A previous owner or tenant may be exempt from paying Council Tax if they’ve moved to give care to someone else. 

Apply for moved to care for someone else exemption

Last occupier has died (exempt class F)

If a property is left empty because the owner/occupier or tenant has died, it may be exempt from Council Tax.

Death of an owner/occupier

You’ll need to provide copies of:

  • the owner/occupier or tenant’s death certificate 
  • name and address of their next of kin 
  • grant of probate or letters of administration (when obtained) 

The exemption will continue for up to six months from the date it’s granted, provided the property remains unoccupied. 

You’ll need to let us know if the property becomes occupied, is sold, or is transferred to a beneficiary.

Death of a tenant who lived alone

The exemption will apply as long as the property remains unoccupied and the tenancy remains in effect. 

Once the tenancy has ended, liability for Council Tax reverts to the landlord.

You’ll need to provide:

  • a copy of the person’s death certificate, and 
  • the name and address of their next of kin

Once the tenancy is ended, you’ll need to let us know:

  • the date the tenancy ended
  • the landlord’s name and address
  • whether the property was a furnished or unfurnished let

If a Council Tax payer dies without leaving a will and no relatives can be traced, an exemption will apply from the date of their death.

If that happens, the liability for Council Tax falls on the treasury solicitor, an officer of the government. 

Apply for an occupier death exemption

In prison or detained by law (exempt class D)

If an owner/occupier or tenant has been imprisoned, their property may be exempt from paying Council Tax.

The exemption does not apply in cases where imprisonment is because they haven’t paid their Council Tax or a fine.

You’ll need to provide:

  • the address of the prison in which the person is detained
  • the date of their imprisonment
  • their prison number (if they have one)

Apply for an in prison or detained by law exemption

Repossessed properties (exempt class L)

If a property has been repossessed by the mortgage lender, it may be exempt from Council Tax.

You’ll need to provide a letter from the mortgage company that confirms repossession. 

Apply for a repossession exemption

Owner bankruptcy (exempt class Q)

A property may be exempt from Council Tax if:

  • the previous owner has declared bankruptcy
  • a person named as trustee has responsibility for the property as a result

If the person who is bankrupt still lives in the property, they remain liable to pay Council Tax until they move out.

Apply for an owner bankruptcy exemption

Legal reason it can’t be lived in (exempt class G)

If a property can’t be occupied because it has been forbidden by law, it may be exempt from Council Tax. For example, buildings declared derelict or unsafe.

You’ll need to provide evidence that the property legally can’t be occupied.

Apply for a legal reason exemption

Owned by a charity (exempt class B)

If a property is owned by a registered charity, and was last occupied for the work of that charity, it may be exempt for up to six months.

You’ll need to provide evidence and include your registered charity number. 

Apply for an owned by a charity exemption

Empty student house (exempt class K)

If a property would usually be occupied only by students, but there’s nobody currently living there, it may be exempt from paying Council Tax.

Apply for an empty student house exemption

Vacant caravan pitches (exempt class R)

Caravan pitches that are not occupied by a caravan are exempt whilst they’re empty.

You’ll need to provide full details of the pitch and the date it became empty.

Apply for a vacant caravan pitch exemption