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Charges for empty properties

On this page you can find out about: 

You will usually have to pay Council Tax on an empty home.

Local councils have the option to set the level of discount to offer on empty properties and we carried out a consultation with residents and property owners to decide which discounts to give.

Vacant properties

These are properties that nobody is living in and which are unfurnished.

You have to pay the full amount of Council Tax for these empty properties. This includes the time between a previous tenant moving out and a new tenant moving in.

Second homes

These are properties which are furnished but are not used as someone’s home address (for example, not a holiday home, or a home used during the working week).

You have to pay the full amount of Council Tax for these properties.

Properties undergoing structural alteration

If you are making changes to the structure of a property, or it needs major repair work to make it habitable, you might be able to get a discount of 100% for a maximum of 12 months.

But once a property becomes a long-term empty property we can’t award the discount and any discount we have awarded will end. You will have to pay the full rate of Council Tax, plus a premium (an extra amount).

What is a long-term empty property?

  • A property which is vacant (no-one is living there and is substantially unfurnished) and it has been like this for 2 years or more.
  • Short periods (of less than 6 weeks) of someone living in the property (or it being furnished) do not prevent it from becoming a long-term empty property.
  • A change of ownership or council tax payer doesn't stop the property from being classed as a long-term empty property.

Council Tax premium on long-term empty properties

Once a property has become a long-term empty property, there will have to be an extra amount of council tax (known as a premium) to pay.

This premium increases the longer the house stays empty. The increases are shown in the table below:

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Effective Date

Empty Period

Additional Charge

1 April 2019

2 years


1 April 2020

5 years


1 April 2021

10 years


But, you don't have to pay this premium if either:

  • the empty property is an annexe which is being used as part of the main home
  • you’re in the armed forces and you must move into armed forces accommodation as part of your work

If the above applies to you and you don’t need to pay then let us know through our contact us form.

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