Unoccupied and unfurnished properties

If you own a property that is unoccupied and unfurnished, you may be entitled to a discount on your council tax or have an additional charge to pay.

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties (up to 6 months)

If a property is unoccupied and unfurnished for a maximum period of 6 months, you may be entitled to a 50% discount on your council tax bill.

Uninhabitable properties (up to 12 months)

There is no discount for second homes that are furnished.

An additional amount of council tax (a premium) is charged when a property has been empty for two years or more. This premium is currently 50%.

From 1 April 2020, properties that have been empty and unfurnished between two and five years will be charged a 100% premium on council tax. Properties that have been empty and unfurnished for five years or more will have be charged 200%.

In 2021, the premium on properties that have been empty and unfurnished for ten years or more will increase to 300%.

Length of time empty Current premiums Premiums as of April 2020 Premiums as of April 2021
2 to 5 years 50% 100% 100%
5 to 10 years 50% 200% 200%
10 years or more 50% 200% 300%

The additional charge can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.

As this premium applies to the property, a change of ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium. If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay a premium.

Getting advice and assistance

The council’s Private Sector Housing Team can provide informal advice and assistance regarding bringing empty homes back into use. The team can also signpost owners of empty properties to other teams and organisations who may be able to assist further.

If a property is empty for at least two years immediately prior to renovations commencing, the Private Sector Housing Team may be able to issue owners with a letter that will prove that they qualify for a reduced rate of VAT on renovation works.

This is subject to the contractors offering this service and to renovations meeting a specific criteria.

To get more information on bringing an empty home back into use, please call the Private Sector Housing Team on 01730 234304.