Empty Properties

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Empty Properties

Information about empty properties and Council Tax

This page covers three classes of empty properties:

  1. Unoccupied and unfurnished (Including changes with effect from 1 April 2018)
  2. Uninhabitable (Including changes with effect from 1 April 2019)
  3. Long term empty (over 2 years)

 

1. Unoccupied & Unfurnished properties

From 1 April 2018 if your property is unoccupied and unfurnished, you still have to pay Council Tax at the full rate. No discount is available.

This was agreed by cabinet on 13 February 2017 in line with powers granted by The Local Government Finance Act 2012 to set certain discount levels locally.

For those that have been awarded the unoccupied and unfurnished discount for less than a month, your discount will still cease on 1 April 2018. For example: if the property became unoccupied and unfurnished on 20 March 2018, you will receive the 100% discount from 20 March 2018 up to and including 31 March 2018. The full council tax charge will be payable with effect from 1 April 2018.

What discount could I get if eligible?

Prior to 1 April 2018, an unoccupied and unfurnished property is eligible for a 100% discount for a maximum period of one month (up to and including 31 March 2018) after which full Council Tax becomes payable. 

How do I apply?

Please print, complete and return the Council Tax Information and Registration Form (after reading the guidance notes).

pdf icon Council Tax Information & Registration Form [148kb]

pdf icon Guidance Notes [141kb]

When you request a discount/exemption we may carry out an inspection of the property to make sure it qualifies.

If your property no longer qualifies for an exemption you must contact us to let us know.


2. Uninhabitable properties

From 1 April 2019 if your property is uninhabitable, you still have to pay Council Tax at the full rate. No discount is available. This was agreed by Cabinet on 3 December 2018 and Full Council on 17 December 2018 in line with powers granted by The Local Government Finance Act 2012 to set certain discount levels locally.

For those that have been awarded the uninhabitable discount for less than one year, your discount will still cease on 1 April 2019. For example: if the property became uninhabitable on 1 December 2018, you will receive the 50% discount (if still eligible) from 1 December 2018 up to and including 31 March 2019. The full council tax charge will be payable with effect from 1 April 2019.

If a property is unoccupied because occupation is forbidden by law (for example, it is declared unfit for human habitation by our environmental health service) a Class G 100% council tax exemption is available. Alternatively, if the Valuation Office Agency deem a property to be in such a state of dereliction and disrepair or undergoing substantial works, which render it to be incapable of beneficial occupation, then they may remove the property from the Council Tax list.

What discount/exemption could I get if eligible?

Prior to April 2019, an unoccupied and unfurnished property which needs or is undergoing major repairs or structural alteration is entitled to a discount of 50% for a maximum of 12 months (up to 31 March 2019) after which a Council Tax charge is then payable.

The discount does not restart after a change in ownership. 

Who can qualify?

A property may qualify if no one is living in the property because

  • the property requires or is currently having major repair work to make it suitable to live in
  • or work is underway to make structural alterations and the majority of this work has not been completed

Please note that properties condemned as 'unfit for human habitation' by our Environmental Health service have a separate exemption, Class G.

What types of repair work and alterations included?

Major repair works include structural repairs. The following types of repairs are included

Roofs

  • Major repairs to roof structures.
  • Rebuilding defective chimney stack(s)

External Walls

  • Rebuilding external walls, for example to extend the property

Foundations

  • Repair/renewal of foundations
  • Underpinning substandard foundations

Floors

  • Replacing defective solid floors
  • Replacing defective floor joists

Internal

  • Property totally gutted including removing most internal walls
  • Replacing defective ceiling joists
  • Rebuilding defective walls

What types of repair work and alterations are not included?

The types of repairs and alterations listed below will not qualify a property for an 'uninhabitable property' exemption

  • plumbing or heating
  • replacement/repairs of bathroom and kitchen or any other fitting/fixtures
  • rewiring
  • timber or damp proof treatment
  • replastering (walls or ceilings)
  • drainage
  • repairs or renewals of services
  • maintenance, for example repointing, window/door replacement
  • redecoration

How do I apply?

If you believe that your property is eligible for the uninhabitable discount prior to 1 April 2019, please send a letter or an email detailing the works.

When you request this discount/exemption we will carry out an inspection of the property to make sure it qualifies so please ensure you supply a daytime phone number.

If your property no longer qualifies for an exemption you must contact us to let us know.


3. Long Term Empty Properties (Properties empty for 2 years or more)

The Long Term Empty Property Premium is a power to set an additional amount of Council Tax (a "premium") to be paid when a property has been empty for at least two years.  Rother District Council has decided to set this premium at 50%. Therefore properties that have remained unoccupied and unfurnished for a period of more than 2 years will be charged an additional 50% Council Tax. The charging of a premium over the normal Council Tax amount supports the Council's commitment to bring long term empty properties back into use.

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