Second homes and empty properties
You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax on a property you own or rent that’s not your main home, such as holiday homes.
Your council can decide to give you a discount - it’s up to them how much you can get. Contact your council to ask about a discount.
You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax on an empty home, but your council can decide to give you a discount - the amount is up to them. Contact your council to ask about a discount.
If your home has been empty for 2 years or more
You can be charged an extra amount of Council Tax (a ‘premium’) if your home has been empty for 2 years or more.
How much you pay will depend on how long the property has been empty. You can be charged up to 4 times your normal Council Tax bill if your home has been empty for 10 years or more.
You will not have to pay the empty home premium if either:
- the empty property is an annex
- you’re in the armed forces and you have to move into armed forces accommodation as part of your work
The rules are different in Scotland.
When you do not pay Council Tax
If you’re selling a property on behalf of an owner who’s died, you do not need to pay Council Tax until after you get probate as long as the property remains empty. After probate is granted, you may be able to get a Council Tax exemption for another 6 months if the property is both:
- still owned and in the name of the person who died
Some homes do not get a Council Tax bill for as long as they stay empty. They include homes:
- of someone in prison (except for not paying a fine or Council Tax)
- of someone who’s moved into a care home or hospital
- that have been repossessed
- that cannot be lived in by law, for example if they’re derelict
- that are empty because they’ve been compulsory purchased and will be demolished
You may get a discount if your home is undergoing major repair work or structural changes, for example your walls are being rebuilt.
If your property’s been refurbished
Your council will tell you when you have to start paying Council Tax if you’ve been carrying out major home improvements on an empty property or building a new property.
You’ll get a ‘completion notice’ that tells you the date you must start paying Council Tax.
If your property’s derelict
Your property’s only considered derelict if it:
- is not possible to live in it, for example because it’s been damaged by weather, rot or vandalism
- would need major structural works to make it ‘wind and watertight’ again
You can challenge your Council Tax band if you think a derelict property should be removed from the Council Tax valuation list.