Council tax reductions and exemptions for empty properties

Your council tax may be reduced or you may be exempt from paying, if your property is unoccupied for a short time or for a specific reason and your sole or main residence is elsewhere. . Properties which are empty for longer might pay an additional charge.

Unoccupied and unfurnished (except for fixtures and fittings)

  • 100% exemption for up to 6 months from the date the property was last occupied as a sole or main residence for three months or more
  • 50% discount for a further 6 months if required (but you'll be liable for the full water and sewerage charges)

Newly built properties also qualify if they're unoccupied from the date they were first entered on the council tax valuation list.

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties on agricultural land which were last occupied and used in connection with those lands may be granted 100% exemption for an unlimited period of time while they continue to meet the relevant qualifying criteria.

Unoccupied and furnished

  • 10% discount for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied as a sole or main residence for three months or more (your water and sewerage charges won't be reduced)

Unoccupied and needing major repair or reconstruction

  • 100% exemption for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied as a sole or main residence.
  • 50% discount for up to 6 months from the date of purchase if you've bought the property within the last 6 months and the property has been unoccupied for more than 12 months.

Unoccupied for other reasons

Some unoccupied properties may qualify for full council tax exemption.  Property categories include:

  • agricultural properties or land  
  • property undergoing structural repair 
  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • difficult to let due to it being part of or on the grounds of, the owners or tenants occupied property 
  • property held for occupation by minister's 
  • property that has been repossessed
  • last lived in by a person who has moved to receive or provide personal care

Exemption can only be awarded to properties who meet the criteria of the relevant category. Some exemptions are time limited by law and all reductions are subject to review.

Apply for a discount or exemption

You will need to provide information on:

  • your council tax account
  • your name and contact details
  • the property you live in
  • the property you are claiming a reduction or exemption for
  • any relevant dates of occupation
  • evidence to support your claim

You can also call 030 33 33 3005 or visit one of our customer service centres .

What happens next

We aim to deal with applications within 10 to 14 days of receiving all of the relevant information. Your account will be updated as soon as a decision is made.

Long term empty properties

We'll double the amount of council tax if a property's unoccupied for 12 months or more.This is called the Long Term Empty Property Tariff and applies even if a property is derelict or in very poor condition.

The tariff is designed to encourage people to deal with empty properties. You can save money by bringing an empty property back into use but you could also bring in rental income or a significant lump sum by selling up.

Changes in your circumstances

You should always let us know if your circumstances change for any reason.

Page last updated: 20/10/2023
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