Find out if your property is eligible
We no longer grant discounts for empty properties that are:
- empty and unfurnished
- empty and furnished
- second homes that are non-job related
- uninhabitable properties
Some empty or unoccupied properties may be entitled to an exemption.
Uninhabitable properties or under structural repair
If a property is in a poor state of repair or undergoing substantial refurbishment work to bring it into a habitable state, there is no discount available. You should contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), as they will make the decision whether the property should be deleted from the Council Tax list.
The VOA will only do this if the property is derelict and uninhabitable, if the property is being rebuilt or structurally altered and the work will be substantial. There is a a helpful guide available on the VOA website.
What you consider to be uninhabitable may differ to that specified by the VOA. If the VOA agrees to delete the property from the Council Tax list, it may result in a higher Council Tax band once the works have been completed and it is brought back into the listing.
Council tax premium on empty homes
From 1 April 2012, the Royal Borough reduced the council tax discount for Class C dwellings (long-term empty and substantially unfurnished) from 50% to 0% and the full charge of council tax became payable.
A Long-Term Empty Premium (LTEP) charge is charged on properties that have been empty and unfurnished for more than 2 years.
From 1 April 2013, an LTEP charge was levied which was an extra 50% in addition to the full council tax.
From 1 April 2019, the LTEP charge was increased to an extra 100% in addition to the full council tax.
As this premium applies to the property, a change in ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium.
The premium can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.
Changes from 1 April 2020
From 1 April 2020, the premium rate will change and be 100 per cent for properties that are empty and unfurnished for more than two years but less than five years.
Properties left empty and unfurnished for more than five years, the premium will be 200 per cent extra.
Changes from 1 April 2021
From 1 April 2021, the premium rate will change and be 100 per cent for properties that are empty and unfurnished for more than two years but less than five years.
Properties left empty and unfurnished for more than five years but less than ten years, the premium will be 200 per cent extra.
Properties left empty and unfurnished for more than ten years, the premium will be 300 per cent extra.
Empty property premium rates
|Empty period||2013 to 2018||
|2 to 5 years||50%||100%||100%||100%|
|5 to 10 years||50%||100%||200%||200%|
|10 years +||200%||300%|
Properties not affected
There are 2 types of property that are not affected by the premium:
- Property which is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away as a result of their service and
- Part of a building which forms a single property – for example, an annexe.
Ending the premium charge
To end the premium charge, you must bring the property back into use.