Find out whether your property is exempt from Council Tax charges.
Some homes may be exempt from Council Tax charges, or exempt for up to 6 months, depending on why the property is empty. For example:
- unoccupied and unfurnished (exempt for up to 6 months, counted from the first date the property is unoccupied and unfurnished), including properties normally rented, but unoccupied and unfurnished between tenants
- unoccupied and undergoing major repair or structural alteration (exempt up to 12 months, any exemption period can only be claimed within the first 12 months from the date the property became unoccupied)
- left empty by deceased occupier (PDF, 97kb)
- left empty by occupier to provide personal care to another person
- unoccupied charity building
- unoccupied church manse
- repossessed property
- subject to Closing or Demolition order
- empty as occupier is in prison, or
- property under responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee
Unoccupied and unfurnished property exemptions
The maximum period of exemption for a property which is empty and unfurnished is 6 months.
In the majority of cases a 6 month exemption will be calculated from the start date of the exemption claim. Please note: if an exemption has previously been awarded against a property, this period may count towards the 6 months. This does not apply where the property has been occupied for 3 months, or more, immediately before the start date of a claim.
If your property remains unoccupied after 6 months, a 50% discount will be awarded for a further 6 months, or to the date which is 12 months from the property becoming unoccupied, whichever is earliest.
This discount is applicable to the Council Tax charge only and not water and waste water charges.
If the property is still unoccupied after 12 months a Council Tax Levy may be applied.
Unoccupied and undergoing major repair or structural alterations
If you have recently purchased a property, which is unoccupied and undergoing major repair or structural alteration, you may be entitled to an exemption for any period up to 12 months from the date the property became unoccupied. Following this you may be entitled to claim a 50% discount for any period up to 12 months from the date you became the owner.
How to apply
You can apply online for the following exemptions/discounts:
- unoccupied and unfurnished exemption
- unoccupied and unfurnished exemption (landlords, period between tenants)
- unoccupied and undergoing major or structural alteration
- exemption for a church manse
- exemption for repossessed property
- exemption for a property which is difficult to let
- exemption for a property where occupation is prohibited by Law, or
- second home/holiday home discount
Unoccupied and unfurnished exemption
Unoccupied and unfurnished exemption claims, including those from landlords, can be submitted by email along with:
- your name
- current address (confirm if you are the owner, tenant, living with someone or are a landlord)
- your contact details (telephone and email)
- the address of the property you are applying for exemption
- the exact dates of your exemption claim
- the reason the property is unoccupied and unfurnished
- if the property is up for sale or rent, details of the agent dealing with this (solicitor or managing agent)
- if the property is being advertised online confirm the site being used, or
- any other relevant information relating to your claim
You can also provide the above by telephone.
We may need to contact you for more information to support your claim.
For all other exemptions please complete and return the relevant exemption form.
Empty property charges
Properties which have been unoccupied for 12 months or more may be subject to an additional Council Tax levy charge.
Some homes may be exempt from Council Tax charges, depending on the circumstances of the people who live in them. For example properties lived in by only:
- full time students
- people under the age of 18
- people who are severely mentally impaired
How to apply
Complete and return the relevant exemption form.
Change of circumstances
Your exemption will continue for the specified period as long as the qualifying criteria are being met. We'll review your circumstances by telephone or email.
A change in circumstances may affect your entitlement (this could include a change to who owns your property), you must contact us immediately so your account can be updated.
Please note: we have the power to impose a penalty (max £500) if you fail to provide information that affects your council tax liability.
If you're on a low income we may be able to help you pay your Council Tax or rent. Visit our Council Tax Reduction or Housing Benefits pages.