Empty Properties

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties

For owners or tenants of unoccupied and unfurnished properties we can apply for a 100% property discount for a maximum period of up to one month.

This discount can be used for properties which are empty awaiting sale or let or undergoing refurbishments (which are not major). After one month of the property being empty, full council tax becomes payable even if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished.

Please note if you purchase an unoccupied and unfurnished property you will only be entitled to any remaining balance of the discount.

Uninhabitable/major works

A property which is unoccupied, unfurnished and in need of major or structural repairs to make it habitable, can receive a 50% property discount for a maximum period of 12 months.

The discount can continue for up to 6 months after the works are completed providing the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished and does not exceed 12 months. In order to apply for this discount, we will require evidence of the work required or being carried out to make the property habitable. Evidence should include photographs and/or contract invoices. Alternatively you can arrange an inspection of the property by one of our officers.

The following do not fall into the criteria of major repair works:

  • Replacement, refurbishment or modernisation of a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
  • Rewiring
  • Redecoration
  • New plumbing, re carpeting, re plastering or new windows

After the 12 months, full council tax becomes payable even if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished.

Further to this, if the property is still empty after two years – then the property will be subject to a Council Tax premium as shown below.

Property remains empty for over 2 years

Once a property has been empty for over 2 years, a ‘long-term empty premium' of 100% is applied; therefore the rate of Council Tax payable is 200%.

A long term empty premium is charged in line with the Council's policy on long-term empty properties. This is to encourage empty properties to be brought back into use.

Once a property has been empty for 5 years, a 200% premium is applied and therefore the rate of Council Tax payable is 300%.

From 1st April 2021, the level of premium will change for long term empty properties. The table below shows the level of premium that will be applied and when:

1st April 2020 onwards 1st April 2021 onwards
Empty for 2 to 5 years 100% 100%
Empty for 5 to 10 years 200% 200%
Empty 10 years or more 200% 300%

If you have a property which is in a poor state of repair, or undergoing substantial refurbishment work or structural alterations, the Council will have to charge you for it unless the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) deletes it from the Council Tax valuation list. However the VOA will only do this if it is derelict and uninhabitable, or if the work is substantial and the property is being rebuilt or structurally altered.

Unoccupied but furnished properties

A property that has no occupants but is furnished is not entitled to any discount.

Empty properties – who is responsible for the Council Tax?

If there are no residents in a property, the owner is liable. ‘Owner' in this context means a person who:

  • has a ‘material interest' in the whole or any part of the dwelling; and
  • at least part of the dwelling or, as the case may be, of the part concerned is not subject to a material interest inferior to his interest.

‘Material interest' means a freehold interest or a leasehold interest which was granted for a term of six months or more – so sometimes, a tenant can be classed as ‘the owner' if they have a tenancy agreement for six months or more. However, if a tenant's six-month tenancy has ended and their tenancy has become a 'rolling' periodic tenancy, they can't be held liable for any empty charges once they move out.

If you require further assistance with other queries, please contact the Council Tax Department by email: taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk or by telephone: 01902 696664

If you would like to register for self-service where you can access information on your Council Tax account please follow this link:- self service

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