Home   Council Tax   Changes to empty property charges

Changes to empty property charges

Our empty homes strategy encourages owners to bring their empty properties back into use. Support is available from the Private Sector Advice Team, please call 01294 324644.

The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings)(Scotland) Regulations 2013 provides discretion for the council to increase Council Tax by up to 100% for long term empty properties that have been unoccupied for 12 months, or 2 years where marketed for sale or rent.

You will be charged additional Council Tax if your property:

  • is not a holiday home, purpose built holiday home or job related accommodation
  • has been unoccupied for over 12 months and is not up for sale or rent
  • has been marketed for sale or rent and has been unoccupied for 2 years or more.

The change is as follows:

From 1 April 2016 owners will pay 150% Council Tax for an empty property that is unoccupied for more than 12 months or up to 2 years if actively marketed for sale or rent. This increased to 200% on 1April 2017.

If your property has been unoccupied for more than 12 months, but less than 24 months, and is being marketed for sale or rent, complete and return a Council Tax Levy Relief application form (Word, 72kb). The application details the proof that should be submitted with the form.

Council Tax Levy - Frequently Asked Questions

My property is exempt will I have to pay the levy?

No. If your property is exempt and there is no change in its circumstances you will continue to be exempt from the payment of Council Tax.

My property has just become unoccupied will I have to pay the levy?

It depends. If you have lived in your property for more than 3 months the levy will not apply until the property has been unoccupied for 12 months or up to 2 years if marketed for sale or rent. If you have lived in the property for less than 3 months the property is still considered unoccupied for this period and taken into account when calculating the 12 month empty period of a property. A levy may apply. 

I have bought a property that has been empty for more than 12 months. Why do I have to pay the levy?

The empty period is calculated from the date the property was last occupied regardless of ownership. If the property was unoccupied for more than 12 months when you bought it, you are liable to pay the levy.

I own a Second Home. Do I have to pay the levy?

If your property meets the Scottish Government's statutory definition of a Second Home  i.e. is a property which is furnished and is occupied for at least 25 days per year, you will not have to pay the levy and will continue to be entitled to a 10% discount on your Council Tax bill. You may be asked to provide evidence that you occupy the property for the required number of days. If you don't occupy it at least 25 days per year, it will be classed as a long term empty property there will be a levy.

I'm a landlord. What do I pay for periods in between tenants?

If you offer an unfurnished property for rent you will be entitled to 6 months exemption from the date the property was last occupied. A 50% discount will apply for the next 6 months. Your discount will end and a levy applied once the property has been unoccupied for more than 12 months or up to 2 years if the property is actively being marketed for sale or rent.

My property has been unoccupied for over 5 years. I'm now marketing it for sale. Will I qualify for relief from the levy?

No. The levy is payable on all properties which have been unoccupied for more than 12 months. The unoccupied period starts on the last date of occupation. Relief is available for a further 12 months from the last date of occupation if the property is being actively marketed for let, or sale. As the property has been unoccupied for more than 2 years, you have no entitlement to relief from the levy.

My property has been unoccupied for less than a year. It is marketed for sale / rent. Do I need to wait until it has been unoccupied for 1 year before I apply for relief from the levy?

No. If you are marketing your property for sale or rent within the first year of it becoming unoccupied you can apply for relief from the levy at any point. Once you provide proof, your Council Tax account will be updated to reflect a 10% discount if the property is still for sale or rent after the first 12 months. We'll contact you during this time to make sure that the property continues to be marketed for sale or rent.

Do I need to apply for a new empty property reduction?

If you are receiving a discount or exemption we will automatically calculate your Council Tax liability. Your Council Tax bill will reflect this. If your house has become unoccupied, let us know straight away.

I'm trying to sell my house and can't afford to pay this. What can I do?

If the property remains empty for more than 12 months and is being offered for sale, the levy will not be applied for up to a further 12 months if you can provide evidence that it is being actively marketed for sale. All other charges must be paid during this period. Whilst payments must be made within the current financial year we may be able to spread the payments throughout the year. If you're having difficulties making payments, contact us.

Contact Council Tax

Email

counciltax@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Telephone

01294 310000

Address

North Ayrshire Council, Council Tax Section, PO BOX 7964, Bridgegate House, Irvine, KA12 8LS