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Council Tax on empty homes

Find out about charges and exemptions for empty homes and unoccupied properties

An empty home is property which is not lived in as anyone’s main home.

Most unoccupied properties are charged the full Council Tax rate, whether they're furnished or not.

If you can't afford to pay Council Tax for your empty home, you can apply for an empty home discretionary discount.

Empty homes - document link - empty home discretionary discount application form
Empty homes - text box 2

Long-term empty home premium

If your property's been empty for over two years, you have to pay your Council Tax bill, plus a premium on top.

The premiums are set at:

  • 100% for properties empty for two years or more
  • 200% for properties empty for five years or more
  • 300% for properties empty for ten years or more

If you're actively trying to sell or let your home, you can apply to have the premium waived. To apply, download and complete the Empty Home Premium Waiver Application Form.

Armed forces empty homes

Armed forces accommodation owned by the Secretary of State for Defence is exempt, whether occupied or not. This includes barracks and married quarters. 

The Ministry of Defence pays us a contribution instead of Council Tax. 

In Rutland, armed forces accommodation is at:

  • St Georges Barracks, North Luffenham
  • Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore

If you own your home and leave it empty and unfurnished, you'll be charged full council tax. You will not be charged the long term empty home premium. 

If you leave your home empty but furnished, you may be able to claim a 50% discount.

If you're employed by the Ministry of Defence, you may be able to apply for their Council Tax Relief Scheme.

    Empty homes - accordion - furnished empty homes FAQ

    FAQs about furnished empty homes

    What do you class as a second home?

    A furnished property which is no one's main home.

    For example:

    • a property left unoccupied while waiting for tenants
    • a property used as a holiday home
    • an inherited property

    How do you decide which property is my main home?

    We take all factors involved into consideration, like:

    • where you have most of your possessions
    • where you're registered for services (for example, doctors, dentists, bank, voting)
    • who lives with you
    • your legal interest in a property

    Each case is considered individually.

    What do you mean by 'job related'?

    You have to live elsewhere in Great Britain because it's in the terms of your employment contract to live in accommodation your employer provides to be able to carry out your job.

    The discount is 50% of the charge.

    There are particular rules that apply to military personnel.

    I have to live outside of Great Britain because of my job - can I get a discount?

    No - if you live outside Great Britain there's no discounts available.

    If you're employed by the Ministry of Defence, they run a Council Tax Relief Scheme for military personnel serving overseas who are liable to pay Council Tax for a property they own in Great Britain.

    Empty homes - accordion - unfurnished empty homes

    FAQs about unfurnished empty homes

    What do you class as unfurnished?

    A property that's largely empty of furniture, to the point someone would not reasonably be able to live there - no white goods, bed or seating, for example.

    What is a vacant property?

    A property that's both unoccupied and unfurnished.

    I live in Ministry of Defence accommodation - are there any discounts available?

    No, but if you leave your property vacant for longer than two years, you'll not be charged the additional premium.

    My empty home is in poor condition - I would say it's uninhabitable. What can I do?

    If your empty home's in very poor condition, you may be able to ask the Valuation Office to remove it from the valuation list.

    For them to consider this, the property must be razed to the ground or beyond well beyond reasonable repair - for example, the roof's been removed or external walls have been knocked down. This option largely depends on the extent of your project. Find out what may be considered as a property in disrepair or derelict on GOV.UK.

    The decision to remove your property from the list is made by the Valuation Office, not us. If they decide to remove your property from the list, we cannot charge Council Tax until it's brought back onto the valuation list.

    You can email the Valuation Office at: cteast@voa.gsi.gov.uk

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