Second homes discount & long term empty properties

Second homes

Second homes, defined as a furnished dwelling which is no one’s sole or main residence,  do not receive a council tax discount.  Full council tax is payable.

Exceptions to the full council tax being payable are properties which are occupied as a condition of employment. The job-related discount for these properties is 50 per cent. To qualify for this discount you must provide evidence of the following:

  • You are liable for council tax for another property (a copy of a recent council tax demand will suffice)
  • The property for which you wish to claim the discount has been provided for you by your employer
  • Evidence that your contract of employment requires you to live in that property.

Long term empty properties

A premium of 50 per cent (on top of the 100 per cent currently payable) is applied to long term empty dwellings which have been empty and unfurnished for longer than two years.

Unoccupied properties

Please note that any information supplied may be used by the council to identify vacant dwellings or take steps to encourage vacant dwellings back into use, in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992

Exempt dwellings

The following are the types of dwelling which may be exempt from council tax.

If you think you qualify for a discount, or you would like further information, please contact council tax (see contacts section of this page).

Unoccupied exempt dwelling classes

A Dwellings which are uninhabitable/undergoing repair - a discount of 50 per cent is given for up to a maximum duration 12 months and zero per cent discount thereafter.  

B Dwellings owned by charities (may be exempt for up to six months)

C Unoccupied/unfurnished dwellings - a discount of 100% is given but for a maximum duration of up to one month. Full council tax liability resumes after the one month discount period has expired. These steps are being taken to encourage unoccupied dwellings back into use.

D Dwellings left unoccupied by prisoners

E Dwellings left unoccupied by patients in hospital or care homes

F Deceased person's former dwelling (may be exempt for up to six months after probate granted)

G Dwellings where occupation is prohibited by law

H Dwellings held vacant for a minister of religion

I Dwellings left unoccupied by persons away receiving care

J Dwellings left unoccupied by persons away providing care

K Dwellings left unoccupied by students

L Unoccupied dwellings where the mortgagee has repossessed

Q Dwellings left unoccupied by owners declared bankrupt

R A pitch/mooring not occupied by a caravan/boat

T Unoccupied dwellings which form part of a single property which includes another dwelling and may not be let separately from that other dwelling (annexes).

Occupied exempt dwelling classes

M Halls of residence predominantly occupied by students

N Dwellings occupied only by students

O Armed forces accommodation, owned by the Ministry of Defence

P Visiting forces accommodation

S Dwellings occupied only by a person or persons aged under 18

U Dwellings occupied only by a person or persons who is/are severely mentally impaired and who would, but for this exemption, be liable to pay the council tax

V Dwellings occupied by diplomats, persons who have diplomatic immunity and certain members of their household

W Dwellings which form part of a single property and which are occupied by a dependent relative/relatives of the family living in the rest of the building (e.g. properties with an annexe or similar self-contained unit).

The above groups are stated in broad terms. Within each of the classes a number of conditions may need to be met before the exemption is satisfied.

How to claim

You can apply for an exemption by writing to the council tax department with the relevant details. See application forms.

If you disagree with the council's decision about an exemption, you can contact us explaining what you object to and why. See Appeals.

If your bill indicates that an exemption has been allowed, you must inform the council tax department of any change in circumstances that affects your entitlement. If you fail to do so, you may have to pay a penalty.

Last reviewed: 30 - 06 - 2016

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