Empty properties

Empty property discount

There are no discounts for properties left vacant, empty homes that require repair, holiday homes or second homes (furnished properties that are not used as a main residence).

From 1 April 2019, if your property has been empty and substantially unfurnished for two years or more, you will be required to pay an empty home premium on top of the full Council Tax charge for your property. The premium will be applied two years after the date from which the property first became empty, not the date of ownership.

The premium is 100% of the full Council Tax charge for your property. This will increase to 200% from April 2020 if your property has been empty for more than 5 years, and to 300% from April 2021 for properties empty for over 10 years.

If your property is empty and unfurnished you may be able to get a Council Tax reduction:

  • a 100% reduction will apply for the first two months from the date your property became unoccupied and unfurnished. This means there will be no Council Tax to pay

If your property remains unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more, you'll pay an empty homes premium. This means you'll pay 150% of the normal Council Tax amount.

If your property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished, and requires or is undergoing major repair work to make it habitable, or is undergoing structural alteration then:

  • a 75% reduction will apply for up to 12 months
  • after 12 months full Council Tax will be payable
  • after 24 months full Council Tax plus a 50% premium (150%) will be payable

For more information view our guidance on the work that qualifies for this reduction (PDF 20Kb)

New owners of an empty property

If you've recently bought an empty property the reduction starts on the day your property became unoccupied and unfurnished. The previous owner may have used some, or all, of the reduction period so you (as the new owner) are allowed the balance of the reduction.

If the property has been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more you'll be charged the empty homes premium (50%) from the date of purchase.

Other circumstances

Properties left unoccupied due to requirements of employment

If the duties of employment require that an employee resides in another property, a 50% reduction may apply on an unoccupied property when it's been left empty.

Occupied annexe

A 50% discount applies to annexes occupied by the residents of the main building or by a relative (including parents, children and grandparents) who do not qualify for any other reduction.

If a non-family member occupies the annexe then the discount will not apply.

Second homes

Where a property is substantially furnished, but unoccupied, no reduction applies.

How to apply

There are a number of circumstances where a property may become empty / occupied. You'll need to notify us about this if:

  • you're permanently moving from a property and it will become an empty property
  • you've been awarded a reduction and your circumstances have changed

Tell us about your change of address

  • you're moving from a property for a short term period due a specific purpose e.g. renovation work or flood damage repairs
  • you've an empty and unfurnished property or newly built property
  • you're looking after a property of a deceased person

Apply for an empty property discount