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Do You Pay Council Tax On An Empty Property?

This article looks at the scenarios of owning an empty property and where you may qualify to pay a reduced amount of council tax.

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If you own an unoccupied or empty property, you may be able to get a discount on your council tax. It could be that your property is empty as it’s a holiday home, or maybe the property is in the process of being renovated, or perhaps it is in probate. Here we look at the scenarios of owning an empty property and where you may qualify to pay a reduced amount of council tax.

What is an empty property?

An empty property is defined by either being ‘empty and substantially unfurnished’ or not the ‘main home’ to any inhabitant. If your property is due to be empty for more than 30 days, contact our advisors to learn why unoccupied home insurance is important to ensure you have the right cover to protect your property.

How much council tax do I pay on my empty property?

You will usually have to pay Council Tax on an empty property, but your council can decide to give you a discount. How much of a discount is up to them.

Where a property has been unoccupied for over 2 years, some councils will charge up to 50% additional council tax (unless it’s an annexe or you’re in the armed forces).

In England, holiday homes and second homes are liable for council tax. However, some councils offer a discount up to 50% for furnished second homes or holiday homes. The rate of council tax will depend on the local authority’s policy on where the property is located.

To find out what you need to pay, you should contact your local council for guidance.

When You Won’t Pay Council Tax

You may not have to pay council tax on an empty home in certain circumstances. Always check with your local council, but these may include:

  • Maintaining the property’s external appearance and standard of repair to create the impression of occupancy.
  • Performing at least weekly internal checks to sustain the lived-in appearance and promptly report issues.
  • Implementing specific security measures such as approved locks on doors and key-operated devices on windows.

Properties can remain unoccupied for various reasons:

  • Properties in probate
  • Repossessed homes
  • Derelict homes or structures that cannot be lived in by law
  • Empty homes due to be demolished
  • Homes belonging to prisoners
  • Homes owned by those in a care home or in hospital long-term
  • Refurbishment or major home improvements

Derelict or dilapidated properties

A property is classified as ‘derelict’ if:

  • The building is inhabitable due to weather damage, severe rot or vandalism
  • The building structure would require major improvements to ensure it is protected from external elements. The general rule of thumb is whether the property is ‘wind and watertight’.

Refurbishment or major home improvements

If you are currently refurbishing your home or conducting major home improvements on an empty property or new home, your council will inform you when you when must start paying council tax. This is called a ‘completion notice’.

Whatever the circumstances are for owning your empty property, it is essential to have the correct home insurance in place. Contact our specialists to discuss your unoccupied house insurance, or get an instant online quote. We provide high levels of cover as standard.

Contact us today to request your online unoccupied house insurance quote or call our advisors at 03333 11 11 10.

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