Council Tax reductions in special circumstances (Section 13A)

We can sometimes give a short-term Council Tax reduction to people who find themselves unexpectedly in difficult circumstances. This type of reduction applies to both occupied and unoccupied properties. It is called a Section 13A reduction because it comes under Section 13A of the Local Government Finance Act.

We can only give Section 13A reductions in exceptional situations. The money to cover the reductions comes out of our own funds and the decision to make a reduction is at our discretion – we don’t have to give a reduction to anyone.

Exceptional situations might include where fire or flood damage means it’s not possible to live in the property, or where the Council Tax payer faces sudden financial problems they could not have expected.

Before you apply for a Section 13A Council Tax reduction

Before applying, you must:

Applying for a Section 13A Council Tax reduction

You can apply for a reduction online.

We will need evidence of your situation and of what you have done to try to resolve the problems. We will also need to be sure that if you are in arrears with your Council Tax, this is for a genuine reason – not simply because you have chosen not to pay.

If you are applying because of financial problems, you will need to tell us about your income and about what you spend.

If you are applying because of fire or flood damage, you will need to send full details of the damage plus evidence such as reports, photographs and insurance documents.

To apply, contact the Council Tax team.

You can upload documents to send with your message. If you can’t upload your documents, you can bring or send them to one of our customer service centres. For opening hours and addresses, see contact the council.

What happens next

We will look at the information you have given us and come back to you if we need more details.

Once we have everything we need, your case will go to the next Local Taxation Panel meeting for a decision. The panel meets once a month, so it might be up to a month before your case is looked at. You must keep paying your Council Tax while you wait to hear from us.

If the panel agree to give you the reduction, you will get a new Council Tax bill to confirm. If the panel decide not to give you the reduction, we will tell you what you can do if you want to challenge their decision.

Section 13A reductions are for a maximum period of a year. You can make a new application when the reduction ends if your circumstances are still the same, but there is no guarantee you will get another reduction.

Other short term help we can give people in difficult circumstances

You might be able to get emergency assistance if you are facing immediate problems. If you get housing benefit and need extra help to pay the rent, see discretionary housing payments.