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Empty and Unoccupied Homes

Local councils have the power to vary the discounts that are applied to empty homes, and for long-term empty homes they can apply council tax premiums which are intended to encourage owners to bring an empty property back into use.  The amount that is payable for an empty home will be dependant on whether the property is a second home, a vacant dwelling, or a long-term empty property.

Second Homes

Homes which are furnished, but which no one uses as their sole or main residence are classed as second homes.  We have a discretion over the level of discount that can be applied to second homes and the council has determined that no discount will be provided.  This means that the full council tax is payable.  You cannot nominate a home as your main residence and this is a decision that is based on factors such as your interest in the property, where you and your family usually live, where you are registered to vote or registered with your GP.

There are some homes for which a second home discount of 50% discount will still be awarded these homes includes unoccupied caravans or boats, and a second home left empty if you are required by your employer to move elsewhere for job-related purposes.  This might apply, for example, if you are a member of the armed services and you are required to move into Ministry of Defence accommodation in Great Britain as part of your posting.

Unoccupied and Unfurnished Homes – Vacant Dwellings

Where a property has been left unoccupied and substantially unfurnished (vacant) a discount of 100% will apply for the first 14 days.  From day 15 onwards no discount will be awarded, and the full council tax is payable.  If a vacant home is occupied then you should let us know immediately so that the council tax records can be updated.

Vacant Dwellings in need of major repair works

Vacant homes which need, or are undergoing, major repair works to make them habitable and homes which are undergoing structural alteration are eligible for a 100% council tax discount.

The discount will be granted for a maximum period of 12 months and will be applied from the date that the property first became vacant and in need of repair. If you buy a home which is already vacant and in need of repair, then the eligibility for the discount may have already ended and as the discount is property based no new discount is granted when you purchase the home.

If you complete the major repair works within the 12-month period then, if the property remains unoccupied, the discount can continue to the end of the 12-month period or until 6 months after completion whichever date is earliest.

More information about uninhabitable discounts and how to apply is available here.

Long-term empty homes

If a home is left vacant for 2 years or more then a long-term empty home premium will be applied. The premiums are intended as an incentive to bring empty homes back into use. The housing strategy team can provide advice and support on returning empty homes into use.

As this premium applies to the property, a change of ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium. If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay the premium Council Tax charge. The additional charge can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.

From 1st April 2024 the premiums which are applied are:
For homes which have been unoccupied for 1 years or more, but less than 5 years a premium of 100%
For homes which have been unoccupied for 5 years or more, but less than 10 years a premium of 200%
For homes which have been unoccupied for 10 years or more a premium of 300%.

There are some cases where empty homes will be exempt from council tax and these are listed on the property exemptions pages

If your property becomes occupied

If your property has become occupied, you should contact the revenue services team to advise them of the occupiers name and the date they took occupation.

You can do this at our register or tell us you have moved page or by calling our team using the contact details below.

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