Apply for an empty property exemption on Council Tax
If you have a property which is empty, you may still have to pay a full Council Tax bill for it. This will apply whether the property is furnished or unfurnished.
About premium charges
We can add an extra fee to your Council Tax bill if you have an empty and unfurnished property that you are not using. This is known as a premium charge.
The longer you leave your property empty for, the higher the charge will be. The charge will increase at:
- 100% after 2 years
- 200% after 5 years
- 300% after 10 years
The premium charge will be tied to your property and stay with it, even if the owner or tenant changes.
If your property was left empty for 2 years or more at the time when you first bought or leased it, you will still have to pay the premium charge.
To remove the premium charge from your empty property, you will need to bring it back into use.
Types of exemption on empty properties
There are some exemptions that mean you will not have to pay a premium charge on your empty property.
Properties owned by charities (Class B)
If you are a charity which owns an empty property, you may not have to pay any extra charges on it for up to 6 months. This applies if the property was used for charity purposes when it was last occupied.
You have moved into a place of detention (Class D)
A property may be left empty because the owner or tenant has moved into a place of detention.
This could be in a place such as a:
- other place of detention
If this applies to you, then you will be exempt from paying a premium charge on your empty property while you are living away from it.
However, this exemption will not apply to you if you were imprisoned for not paying your Council Tax or for not paying a fine.
You have moved into a hospital or care home (Class E)
If your property is empty because you have moved into hospital or a care home to receive treatment, you will not have to pay any premium charges on it.
The owner or tenant has died (Class F)
If the owner or tenant of a property passes away, the property will be exempt from premium charges.
This exemption will apply until probate is granted or letters of administration are obtained. It will also apply for up to 6 months after probate if the property remains empty.
However, if someone else has a legal interest in the property, this exemption will not apply. For example, if they are a co-owner of the property or have inherited it in the will.
Properties that cannot be occupied by law (Class G)
If a property cannot be occupied by law, it will be exempt from premium charges. For example, if there has been a compulsory purchase order made against it.
However, if someone occupies the property against the law, they will be liable to pay any extra charges for it.
You are a minister of religion (Class H)
If you are a minister of religion and have a property where you do your work, like a vicarage, you will not have to pay premium charges for it being empty. It does not matter if the property was used for this purpose in the past or not. This exemption applies to ministers from any religion.
You have moved away to receive personal care (Class I)
Sometimes the owner or tenant of a property may need to move out of it to receive personal care in another location.
This could be due to:
- old age
- a disability
- drug or alcohol issues
- mental health issues
This includes those being looked after by:
- care homes
If you have had to move out of your property to receive personal care, you will not have to pay any premium charges on it while you are away.
To get this exemption, you need to tell us that you have moved away from where you used to live. You also need to explain why you moved because of health reasons and show us proof of your diagnosis. This proof must come from a doctor or other licensed medical professional.
You are providing personal care for someone (Class J)
If you leave your property to provide personal care for someone, you will not have to pay any premium charges on it while you are away.
You do not need to live with the person you are caring for, but you must be able to look after them from your new home.
To apply for this exemption, you just need to tell us about your change in circumstances. We may ask for details about the person you are caring for and the status of your new property.
You have left your property to study at college or university (Class K)
If your property is empty because you have gone away to study at college or university in a different location, you will not have to pay premium charges. This applies whether you own the property or have an ongoing tenancy.
Properties repossessed by a mortgage company (Class L)
If a mortgage company has repossessed an empty property which has not yet been sold, premium charges will not apply to it.
If you are a trustee in bankruptcy (Class Q)
You will not be liable to pay premium charges on an empty property if you are a trustee in bankruptcy. This could be as the Official Receiver (OR) or as an insolvency practitioner.
The exemption will apply until the property is sold, or if you disclaim any interest in the property.
Caravan pitches and boat moorings (Class R)
Council Tax is charged on caravan pitches and boat moorings if the caravan or boat is the owner’s only home. A pitch or a mooring without a caravan or a boat is exempt from any extra charges.
Empty annexes (Class T)
If you have an empty annexe which you are not allowed to let separately from the main part of your property, you will not have to pay premium charges.
Page last updated: 15 September 2023