Council Tax reductions for unoccupied properties

In most circumstances, you must pay Council Tax even when a property is unoccupied. If a property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more, there is an empty homes premium which means you pay 150% of the normal amount.

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 be able to determine when a premium would commence.

From 1 April 2019 Cheshire East properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more will be subject to a 100% premium effective from 1 April 2019. The Council Tax payer will have to pay 200% of the Council Tax charge. Find out more about the changes to Council Tax 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 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.

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 (PDF, 151KB)

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 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.

Unoccupied property reductions

You can apply for a Council Tax reduction when a property is unoccupied for any of the following reasons: 

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.

Council Tax becomes due again in any of the following circumstances:

  • someone else moves in

  • the property is passed to someone else.

  • where the property is sold.

  • where someone else should be liable, for example we learn that there is another owner etc.

  • the property was tenanted and rent ceases to be paid. 

If none of these events happen, Council Tax then becomes due again six months after the date probate is granted or Letters of Administration have been made (in cases where there was no will). On this date, the executors or administrators must start to pay the Council Tax for the property. The money should come from the dead person's estate - executors aren't personally liable. They should contact us immediately if there's a problem with making the payment.

To apply for the 100% reduction, fill in our

online empty property exemption form.

Specific reasons for someone to leave the property

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

  • living elsewhere to receive care

  • living elsewhere to care for someone

  • a full-time student living somewhere else

  • in prison

  • detained for mental health reasons

  • detained under immigration law

  • a trustee in a bankruptcy

These reductions can depend on whether the occupant was the owner or a tenant of the property. To apply, fill in our

online empty property exemption form.

Other specific situations apply to the property

You don't pay Council Tax when any of the following apply to an empty property:

  • it's been repossessed by a mortgage lender

  • it's owned by a charity and its most recent use was for charitable purposes - up to 6 months

  • no one is allowed by law to live in the property - for example, because of planning restrictions

  • a minister of religion is going to move in

  • it's a caravan pitch with no caravan or a boat mooring with no boat

  • it's an empty annexe that can't be let separately from the main home

  • it's being held as living accommodation for UK armed forces and is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence.

To apply for a reduction in any of these circumstances, fill in our

online empty property exemption form.

The property is available on the rental market

Landlords with an unoccupied and unfurnished property available to let on the rental market can claim a 100% Council Tax reduction for the property for up to 8 weeks. Please note that from 1 April 2019 the period of discount will be reduced to 6 weeks.

Where a landlord advises us of any changes to occupancy by completing  Report a change of tenancy the appropriate discount will automatically be applied.

Report a change of tenancy

Major repairs

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)

More information on unoccupied property Council Tax

For more information, you can contact the Council Tax team