Changes to Council Tax Discounts for Empty Properties and Second Homes

Changes to Council Tax Discounts & Exemptions

The Government is allowing councils to introduce changes to Council Tax discounts and exemptions in respect of second homes and certain empty properties. Thereis also a new power to charge an additional amount of Council Tax on properties that have been continuously empty for more than two years. These changes in legislation start on April 1 2013.

Summary of Changes

The Council has reviewed the Government’s proposals and taken into account the required financial savings for the new Council Tax Reduction Scheme that will replace Council Tax Benefit, and the need to bring empty homes back into use quickly because of the shortage of housing in the borough.

As a result, the Council has agreed a set of changes to the current Council Tax discounts and exemptions from April 1 2013.

  • The full Council Tax will be charged on second homes (furnished properties where no-one lives or the owner has a main home elsewhere).

  • Empty properties will no longer be exempt from payment for the first 6 months. Instead, an exemption will be allowed for one month, then a charge of 50% of the Council tax will be payable for the next 5 months. After this period, the full council tax becomes payable.

  • Empty properties undergoing or requiring major or structural repair will no longer be exempt from payment for up to 12 months. Instead, a charge of 50% of the Council tax will be payable for up to 12 months. After this period, the full council tax becomes payable.

  • Properties that have been empty for more than 2 years will be charged a premium of 50%. A charge of 150% of the Council tax will be payable.

What Do the Changes Mean?

This means some Council Tax payers will have to pay more Council Tax, for example

  • Owners of second homes
  • Owners of empty properties
  • Owners of properties that will have been empty for 2 years or more at April 1 2013
  • Anyone who owns a property that is in need of or awaiting major works or structural repair and remains empty at April 1 2013.