Different types of council tax discounts and exemptions

Unoccupied properties

For properties which are empty and unfurnished, a 100% discount on council tax will be given for a maximum of 1 month (the discount will start from the date the property becomes unoccupied and substantially unfurnished).  No discount will be given if the property remains empty and unfurnished after 1 month (unless the property has been granted a discount as it is undergoing major repair work).

Please note: If you buy or rent a property that is already empty and unfurnished, then the previous owner or landlord will already have been granted a discount so you may be liable to pay 100% of the council tax.

"Substantially unfurnished” is not defined in council tax legislation. A property which is substantially unfurnished is unlikely to be occupied or be capable of occupation. A property which is capable of occupation can reasonably be expected to contain some, if not all, items from both of the following categories: furniture such as bed, chairs, table, wardrobe or sofa. The quantity of furniture present in the dwelling in relation to its size will also be a determining factor.

A 50% premium will be payable on top of the full charge for properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more. This means that a 150% charge will be payable.  The 2 years starts to from when the property first became empty, regardless of ownership.

Under Schedule 3 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, civil penalties can be applied to a person who deliberately supplies false information. In addition, the provisions of the Theft Act 1968 apply to council tax.

Apply for a discount for an unoccupied and unfurnished property [pdf]

You can read the formal public notice about this change [pdf]

There is no general council tax discount available for a property which is unoccupied, but is furnished.  However, there are some circumstances where a discount or exemption can be given, for example if a person has died. More information about individual circumstances is available via the bullet points below.

Other reasons a home may be empty

There are a number of other circumstances where we may offer a discount or exemption on council tax due to a property being unoccupied: