Empty Properties

Unfurnished properties where nobody lives

Uninhabitable (Class A)

This exemption can be awarded to a property that is:

  • Uninhabitable in its present state and requires major repair work to render it habitable or
  • Undergoing major repair works or renovation, the extent of which renders the property uninhabitable
  • Undergoing structural alterations.

Examples of conditions which would result in a property being considered unliveable:

  • Old, dated properties in need of total refurbishment eg with outside toilet facilities only (this does not include properties that merely have outdated features and fittings)
  • Structural  condition of the property requires major alteration or renovation such as rebuilding defective walls (not stud/partition walls) or joists, underpinning or repair of substandard foundations, (see 3 below)
  • Extensive damage caused by subsidence, fire or flood
  • Extensive damp or water penetration which affects the majority of the house.

Examples where the extent of repair works may render a property uninhabitable:

Certain repair works on their own would not render a property uninhabitable, eg

  • Part renewal of a damp proof course
  • Replacement of windows
  • New electrics
  • Plumbing and central heating repairs or installation
  • Replacement of bathroom and kitchen facilities
  • Re-plastering of walls/ceilings
  • Redecoration.
  • Part renewal of the damp proof
  • Maintenance such as repointing of brickwork or window/door replacement
  • Minor changes such as an extension which does not affect the rest of the dwelling

However, whereas these works would not qualify on their own, a combination of these repairs may qualify.

Examples of Structural Alteration

This involves a change to the fabric of the dwelling which prevents occupation, such as:

  • An extension which affects the whole property for instance a block of flats being converted to a house which involves the removal of internal or external walls or
  • A house being split into flats.  

In order to assess whether a class A exemption applies the Billing Authority has to take reasonable steps such as carrying out an internal inspection, evidence from workmen undertaking the work, such as builders, plumbers, electricians as appropriate or a surveyor’s report (all of which must be on headed paper), photographs and receipts of materials for works carried out.

If a property is derelict, the owner may make a proposal to remove it from the Valuation List.

The exemption can be awarded for a maximum period of 12 months, or 6 months after the work has been completed (whichever date is earlier).  The exemption also comes to an end if someone moves into the property or the property becomes furnished. At the end of the exemption period, 50% council tax is payable if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished.

If the property changes hands during the exemption period, the new council taxpayer is only entitled to the remaining balance of the exemption period.

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Unoccupied and Unfurnished (Class C)

This exemption can be awarded to a property that is ‘unoccupied and unfurnished’. This means that there must be no furniture at all in the property except for white goods and fitments (such as built in wardrobes). Please note that the property will be inspected following the award of the discount and should there be any items of furniture, the discount will be removed.

The exemption lasts for a maximum of 6 months from the date the property originally becomes unoccupied and unfurnished; at the end of the exemption period, a 50% charge is payable. This means that if the property changes hands during the exemption period, the new council taxpayer is only entitled to the remaining balance of the exemption period. If the exemption has elapsed prior to purchase, the new council taxpayer is only entitled to the 50% discount.

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Furnished properties where nobody lives

If your property is no-one’s sole or main residence but remains furnished you will be entitled to a 25% discount; the discount will apply until the property is sold or becomes occupied.

There are some exemptions that apply to properties that are unoccupied but remain furnished.

Persons Receiving Care (Class E & Class I)

A class E exemption is awarded to a property that has been left unoccupied because the council taxpayer has gone into a hospital or care home to receive personal care on a permanent basis (as long as the deceased person was the owner or tenant of the property).

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A class I exemption is awarded to a property that has been left unoccupied because the council taxpayer has gone to live with someone else to receive care due to old age, disablement, illness, past or present alcohol or drug dependence, or past or present mental disorder.

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There is no time limit on these exemptions. However, they will apply only if the taxpayer was the owner or tenant of the property. The exemptions will not apply if someone else moves into the property.

Council Taxpayer Deceased (Class F)

A class E exemption is awarded to a property that has been left unoccupied following the death of the council taxpayer (as long as the deceased person was the owner or tenant of the property).

The exemption can last for up to 6 months after the date of probate or letters of administration, but comes to an end if the property is sold or if someone moves into the property.

If the property was not owned by the deceased person, for instance if it was owned by a son/daughter, the legal owner becomes liable from the date of death and the exemption does not apply.

Care Providers (Class J)

The property has been left unoccupied because the council taxpayer has gone to provide care for someone else. The carer does not have to live in the same property as the person being cared for, but must be better able to provide that care from their new home.

There is no time limit on this exemption. However, it does not apply if someone else moves into the property.

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How to apply?