Council Tax exemptions and discounts

Our council is currently looking at the different council tax discounts and exemptions we offer empty home owners.  It would be really helpful to us in making a decision on any future changes if you would be able to tell me what your council currently offers empty home owners. Please either post a reply here or email me if you prefer at  Thank you.

My questions are -

What length of exemption do you give an owner who has just acquired an empty home? - 1 month, 2 month, 3 month or 6 month exemption from council tax? (We currently give the first six month period 100% discount).

What Premium do you currently charge for homes empty two or more years? (eg 50%, 100% etc) We currently charge 50% Premium.

Uninhabitable exemption - we currently give a 100% exemption for one year. Do you do the same or have you reduced the percentage?

This would be really helpful to me if you are able to reply as soon as possible please? Thank you for any help  you can give me.

Lynne Leach, South Lakeland District Council

Council tax - discounts, access to info etc

Hi Lynne

In Bradford it is as below

 PCLC( empty and unfurnished)

100% charge from Day 1. After two years the charge rises to 200%, after 5 years 300% and from April 2021 anything empty more than 10 years will be 400%.

PCLB properties ( furnished empties) currently remain on 100% charge.

We have a Class A exemption for major structural work. This is just one month 100% discount but is quite onerous to prove and get the timing right with the regard to when you request it. it isn't well publicised.

So, we are a lot harder on empty property owners than you are. The stick approach.

Hi Lorna,

Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know what the situation is at Bradford as far as council tax discounts/exemptions are concerned. 

If anyone else could please let me know what their council gives for discounts and exemptions that would be really helpful, so that we have a general idea of what other councils in England are doing to help inform our decision.  Thank you.

Lynne Leach, South Lakeland District Council

Lynne Leach

Hi Lynne

In Plymouth we apply the follwoing:

Empty and unfurnished - No charge for up to one month, after one month full charge. After two years full charge plus 100 per cent (200% bill) and after five years, full charge plus 200 per cent (300% bill)

Empty and furnished - Full charge from the date the property became empty

Empty and undergoing major works - No discount other than one month empty and unfurnished discount (if applicable)



In Barnsley we are similar to Plymouth applying the follwoing:

Empty and unfurnished: No charge for up to 1 month to the owner only, after 1 month full charge (100%), after 2 years full charge plus 100% (200%) and after 5 years full charge plus 200% (300%).

Empty and furnished - Full charge (100%) from the date the property became empty

Empty and undergoing major works - 25% discount for up to 1 year dependant on the works


Amy (Barnsley)

A big thank you to everyone who has replied to me, both on our forum and by email. This gives a very good overall view of what is happening in the country, and should help to inform our council's decision on any future changes. I would still welcome anyone else who is happy to contact me with what happens at their council, as it still adds to the overall picture, thank you.

Lynne Leach, South Lakeland District Council

Lynne Leach

In Selby the following applies for empty and unfurnished

a month at 100%,

then a further 5 months at 20% discount

next 18 months at no discount

after two years standard plus 100% premium

after five years standard plus 200% premium

From next April, after 10 years empty standard plus 300%

We are finding this effective in changing some owners minds about thier empty properties, quite a few long term ones have been sold or are up for sale.

We are considering cases of new owners and how we can not put them off purchasing long term empties alread attracting premiums. Might be a system of repaying the premium they pay between purchase and occupation if that period is less than a year - no details yet.

Major works discount is up to one year at 20% discount, subject to checks. The premiums come straight back in following this period if the property remains empty and is only awarded once 

Helen M Rhodes

Good morning.

When a dwelling is first listed as unoccupied and unfurnished, the Revenues team can grant a one month full exemption to the council tax. Upon expiry, a full charge is payable as a long-term empty dwelling.

The premium charge of 100% is applied after two years empty. 200% for five years empty and 300% for ten years empty.

The uninhabitable discount is 50% for a maximum of twelve months. This must be evidenced to the Revenues Team that the dwelling is empty, uninhabitable and undergoing major structural repair. In instances of fire/flood damage, it can also be awarded, despite there not necessarily being any structural issue.

Carl Miles - Empty Homes Officer, Cornwall Council.