Council Tax on Empty Properties: How Does It Work?

empty property

In this guide, we shed light on a topic often shrouded in confusion among property owners in the UK – council tax on empty properties. Whether you’re a seasoned property investor, a first-time landlord, or simply a homeowner with an empty property, understanding how council tax applies to vacant dwellings is crucial. This guide is designed to answer all your questions, helping you to navigate this vital aspect of property ownership effortlessly. Find out if you have to pay council tax on empty properties, and what council tax discounts and exemptions are available.

  • Council Tax for empty properties and second homes
  • Empty property Council Tax exemptions
  • Empty property Council Tax premium

Council tax for empty properties and second homes

You will typically have to pay council tax on any empty properties or a second home that you own. You may be able to receive a council tax discount for these properties but this is determined by the local council. 

Empty property council tax exemptions

However, some councils can offer council tax exemptions for circumstances where an empty property cannot be lived in. 

Major repair council tax exemption

You may be eligible for council tax exemption on an empty property undergoing major repairs or structural changes. Your council will confirm when council tax payments will resume in a “completion notice”.

Derelict property council tax exemption

Similar to properties undergoing repairs, properties which require major structural repair to make them habitable may also be council tax exempt. Derelict property exemptions apply to homes which are not suitable to be lived in (due to vandalism, weather damage, or rot etc.) and require  structural works to make them “wind and watertight”.

The above council tax exemptions and discounts can significantly reduce the costs of owning a vacant property. Whether or not these discounts apply could have a noticeable effect on your finances so it is important to explore all options where applicable to ensure you are taking full advantage of them.

As discounts are set by local councils a discount on a property you own in one council may not be available on another property in another council.  It is always best to check what discounts and exemptions are available with your local council. 

Empty property council tax premium

A higher “premium” council tax rate can be applied to properties which have been empty for 2 or more years. The rate is dependent on how long the property has been unoccupied and can be as high as 4 times the usual council tax rate for properties that have been vacant for 10 or more years. 

The premium rate is not applied to annexes. If you are a member of the armed forces and move into armed forces accommodation for work you are exempt from the premium rate. 

Don’t leave your property empty – Find tenants now!

Do you pay council tax on an empty property? In short, you will most likely need to pay council tax on an empty property. Though there are potential exemptions and discounts depending on your local authority, there is also the possibility of higher tax rates. With the exception of a few rare cases, most empty properties and second homes will be subject to council tax. A property is an investment, it should earn you money, not sit idle and cost you money. 

Do you want a property that makes you money? LevelUP provides a range of vacant property management including tenant finding services so you can turn your property from an expense into a money generating investment.

empty property