Council Tax cost of keeping a property empty

Find out the Council Tax implications of leaving a property empty

Empty, unfurnished properties are eligible for a discount for up to three months. After this period the full amount of Council Tax becomes payable.

Properties which remain empty and unfurnished will be charged an empty property premium as a percentage of their Council Tax payment:

  • empty and unfurnished for two years - 200% of the normal liability
  • empty and unfurnished for five years - 300% of the normal liability
  • empty and unfurnished for ten years - 400% of the normal liability

Some empty properties may be exempt from Council Tax and examples are listed below:

  • owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months)
  • left empty by someone who is now in prison
  • left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or a home
  • repossessed properties (in possession of the mortgage company)
  • waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and for up to six months after)
  • the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy
  • empty because the law has said it must not be lived in
  • waiting to be lived in by a minister of religion
  • left empty by students who live elsewhere to carry out their course
  • unable to be let separately because they are part of a main property or there is a planning restriction

We will target properties charged with an empty property premium and with Council Tax arrears and where appropriate, will take enforcement action to recover the debt.

It is worth noting that changes to the qualifying period for application of the Council Tax long term-empty homes premium were announced on The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill in the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022.

The Bill will allow us to consider homes as empty dwellings after one year rather than the current two years and we will be allowed to apply the following maximum additional charge for empty homes:

  • 100% after one year
  • 200% after five years
  • 300% after 10 years.