Empty properties and second homes

You still need to pay Council Tax on a property if it’s empty or is a second home.

We no longer grant discounts for empty properties that are:

  • empty and unfurnished properties
  • second homes
  • uninhabitable properties

Properties being refurbished

If you have a property in a poor state of repair, or which is undergoing substantial refurbishment work, no discount will apply unless the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) deletes the property from the Council Tax list.

The property will be deleted from the council tax list if it is any of the following : 

  • derelict 
  • uninhabitable 
  • being rebuilt 
  • being structurally altered 

If you would like to get a derelict property removed from the Council Tax valuation list, apply to the Valuation Office Agency.

Properties empty for more than 2 years

An additional amount of Council Tax known as a long-term empty premium is charged on properties that have been empty for more than 2 years.  

There is a national housing shortage. To avoid this premium, owners are encouraged to bring their properties back into use.  The premium has been in place since April 2013 and has been increased each year since April 2018.

From April 2020, the premium is 100% Council Tax for properties that are empty and unfurnished for more than two years but less than five which doubles the amount of Council Tax payable.

For properties that are empty for more than 5 years, a 200% premium is applied which trebles the amount of Council Tax payable. 

Empty property premium rate

Empty period 2013 to 2018 2019 2020
2 to 5 years 50% 100% 100%
5 to 10 years 50% 100% 200%

As this premium applies to the property, a change of ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium. If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay the additional premium. The premium can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.

There are two types of property that are not affected by the premium:

  1. property which is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away from the property as a result of their service
  2. property which forms part of a single property, for example, an annexe.