Structural alterations

Properties undergoing works

When a property is unoccupied and unfurnished and is either:

a) undergoing or in need of major repair works to render it habitable

b) undergoing structural alterations

you may be eligible for a discount for up to 12 months, if the property has not been in receipt of the discount since it was last occupied.

What constitutes structural alteration?

Structural alterations mean a change to the fabric of the property, such as an extension which would prevent occupation of the property. This may occur for example if a bungalow is being converted to a house or where there is the removal of a number of supporting internal or external walls.

Exceptional circumstances

A discount may be granted if the property has suffered subsidence and it has been deemed to be unsafe to occupy. Written reports, insurance details and all relevant documentation would need to be supplied to us in your application.

Major fire or flood damage may also qualify providing all relevant reports and insurance claim details are supplied.

What does not qualify for a discount?

Some examples of the types of repair work and alterations that will not qualify a property for this discount are:

  • Minor changes such as the addition of a porch
  • Plumbing or heating
  • Replacement or repair of bathroom/kitchen or any other fixtures/fittings
  • Rewiring
  • Timber or damp proof treatment
  • Re-plastering of walls/ceilings
  • Drainage
  • Repairs or renewals of services
  • Maintenance such as re-pointing or window/door replacement
  • Redecoration

Please do not apply if the property only requires / is undergoing any of the above changes.

If, whilst your property is undergoing the above major repair works or structural alteration, you continue to reside within the grounds/curtilage of the property (in a caravan, for example) you may not be eligible for the discount. If this is something you are planning do, you may wish to contact us before applying to discuss if you are likely to be eligible for an exemption.

Where a property is unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years or more it is subject to an empty homes premium. We are unable to award a discount to these long term empty properties. Should a property be unoccupied and unfurnished for less than 2 years it can be granted the discount should it meet the relevant criteria, however this discount will end once the property has been empty for 2 years.

See our Charges for Empty Properties page for more information.

Discount period and start date

The discount period can start from the day the qualifying works were required or started, once it has been inspected by our inspector.

If you are intending to purchase a property that is need of major structural alterations or major repair work, you may wish to check with us to see if a discount has already been granted.

If you purchase an already vacant property that is currently receiving a discount, you will be entitled to the remainder of the discount period providing the property is still classed as uninhabitable. The discount is based on the property’s circumstances, and not the change in ownership. 

The end of the discount period

This discount stops once the property is furnished or occupied, or if the property reaches the time limit of being unoccupied and unfurnished for 2 years.

If your property is unfurnished and still undergoing structural work when the discount expires, you will be charged full Council Tax. If the property has been empty for a period of 2 years or more, an extra 100% premium will be applied to the Council Tax, which may increase the longer the property is left empty.

See our Charges for Empty Properties page for more information.

How do I claim this discount?

Before this discount is awarded we will need information from you about the work that is required to the property.

Complete a form as soon as you know when structural work will commence. Please include an address, telephone number and email address where we may contact you, as we may need to see inside the property.

It is important that full information and supporting evidence is supplied as part of the application as this helps us to see the nature and extent of the work required. Supporting evidence can be a qualified surveyor’s report, builder’s schedule of work, details of planning application or in the case of a fire, flooding or subsidence, the insurance reports.

The inspector will need to see what work is required before it is started, or at least before they are finished. 

Apply Here for the Discount

All applications are assessed on a case by case basis

You will need to continue to pay your council tax as per your instalments until the discount is granted. If you only contact us after the work is finished we will not be able to grant a discount.

What happens next?

Once we have seen your application and supporting evidence we will need to inspect the property to see its condition.

If our inspector confirms the property qualifies, you will be granted a property discount from the date the work started and will continue whilst the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished for up a maximum of 12 months. (Provided a discount has not been previously applied in full or partially since the property was last occupied / furnished)

You will be notified in writing if a discount has been granted.

If the taxpayer is unhappy with the decision that has been made, a right of appeal exists by writing to the Council Tax Office, FAO the Council Tax team –

Once granted a discount, you have a responsibility to advise the Council Tax office as soon as you move furniture into the property or the works are complete. If you fail to inform us you may be required to pay a penalty.

Our Inspector will visit all properties we believe are unoccupied periodically to confirm they are still empty and unoccupied.

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