An additional amount of council tax (a premium) is charged when a property has been empty for two years or more. From 1 April 2019 the premium is set at 50%.
This means that if you own a property, which has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for at least two years, you will be charged an extra 50% on top of the full council tax for the property; in effect a 150% of the set council tax charge.
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 150% council tax charge. The additional charge can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.
If the premium affects you, we will send you a new council tax bill.
Properties not affected
There are two types of property that are not affected by the premium:
- Property which is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away from the property as a result of their service will not be affected
- Property which forms part of a single property, for example, an annexe will also not be affected
If your bill shows a long term empty premium and you think that your property is in one of the above categories, please contact us straight away.
Changes that will come into effect on 1 April 2020
Properties that are empty for two years, but less than five years, will attract a premium of 100%, and be charged 200% of the set council tax.
Properties empty for five years, but less than ten years, will attract a premium of 200%, and be charged 300% of the set council tax.
In addition to the two property types that are not affected as outlined above, certain other properties may be excluded from the premium. This exclusion will however be at the discretion of the council and will require supporting evidence.
Excluded properties may include:
- Where owners are genuinely attempting to sell or let their property which has been vacant for at least 2 years
- Where the owners are experiencing particular legal or technical difficulties (including planning issues) preventing its use
- Where the imposition of the council tax premium would result in severe hardship to someone with a serious illness, disability or vulnerability
- In extreme cases, the council may decide to obtain a solicitors undertaking that the council tax will be paid from the proceeds of selling the property
How to end the premium charge
To end the premium charge, you must bring the property back into use.
If you bring your property back into use, or have already done so but forgot to notify the council at the time, please contact us so we can arrange an appointment to visit your property.
Please note that if the property has been occupied for a short period of time, we will treat it as not having been occupied for the purposes of calculating the two year period.