Council Tax premiums and reductions for unoccupied properties

In most circumstances, you must pay Council Tax even when a property is unoccupied. 

If someone else is helping you sort out your Council Tax, you can give us permission to talk to them by signing our authority to disclose form:

Authority to disclose

Premium charge

We currently charge a 100% Empty Home premium on properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for between 2 and 5 years. The Council Tax payer has to pay 200% of the Council Tax charge.

If a property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a period of at least 5 years, but less than 10 years, it will be subject to a 200% premium. The Council Tax payer will have to pay 300% of the Council Tax charge.

Properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least 10 years will be subject to a 300% premium effective from 1 April 2021. The Council Taxpayer will have to pay 400% of the Council Tax charge.

Should you purchase a property that is already empty, you should check with the council the date the property first became empty and unfurnished to work out when a premium would start.

If you are paying the Empty Homes Premium for a property and also doing major work that means no-one can live in the property, we can remove the premium for up to 12 months. To apply for the reduction,  download the major repairs (Class D) reduction form (PDF, 326KB)

Unoccupied property reductions

There are some situations where we can give a Council Tax reduction. Reductions can be up to 100%. Apply for a reduction if you think you qualify and then keep paying until we confirm the reduction. Don't just stop paying.

You don't pay Council Tax for up to 6 months if the empty property:

  • is owned by a charity and its most recent use was for charitable purposes 
  • has been previously occupied, for example is not a new build

Apply for an empty charitable property discount

A Council Tax payer who lived alone has died

You can claim a 100% reduction for a period after a person who lived alone in a property that they owned or rented dies.

Report the death of a Council Tax payer

The owner or tenant who usually lives in the property is detained elsewhere 

There might be a 100% Council Tax reduction if no-one is living in a property and the person who usually lives there is 

  • in prison

  • detained for mental health reasons

  • detained under immigration law 

Apply for Council Tax reduction for people in detention

Property held as living accommodation for UK armed forces

Property held as living accommodation for UK armed forces and owned by the Secretary of State for defence can get a reduction of 100% so there is no Council Tax to pay. The reduction applies whether the property is occupied or not.

To apply, download and fill in our UK Armed forces form (PDF, 320KB) 


What happens after you apply for a Council Tax reduction

We'll get back to you to tell you whether or not you can get a reduction. This can take up to 20 working days. It might take longer if we have to visit the property or need more information.

You must let us know straight away if anything you've told us changes.

Reductions will show on your bill as being for the whole year even when they are only for a fixed time period. We will send you a new bill when the reduction is coming to an end. If you think you should keep getting the reduction, you will need to apply again.

For more information, you can contact the Council Tax team 

Find out more about Council Tax discounts and charges for unoccupied and unfurnished properties.

Backdating reductions

You can ask us to backdate a reduction. We might ask for further information from you to help us decide how far we can backdate the reduction. We don't normally backdate for more than 6 years from the date the claim is received.

Contact us

Translate this page with Google translate

Page last reviewed: 07 September 2021