6. Second homes and empty properties

Second homes

You may pay less Council Tax for a property you own or rent that’s not your main home.

Councils can give furnished second homes or holiday homes a discount of between 0% to 50%. It’s up to your council to decide how much you get.

Empty properties

You’ll have to pay Council Tax on an empty and unfurnished home, but you may qualify for a discount. It’s up to your council to decide whether you get a discount and how much you get.

If the owner of a house has died, Council Tax isn’t charged for up to 6 months after probate is granted (your legal right to sell the home).

Some homes don’t 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
  • 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 (eg your walls are being rebuilt).

Properties empty for 2 years or more

Your Council can charge up to extra 50% Council Tax if your home has been empty and unfurnished for 2 years or more (unless it’s an annexe or you’re in the armed forces).

Completion notices

Local councils usually send completion notices to new homes and properties that have had major home improvements. A completion notice tells you the day the council thinks your property was finished.

You have to start paying Council Tax from this date.

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