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Question

Council Tax (England) | Council Tax (Wales)

My local authority is charging me 100% council tax for an empty dwelling. Is this allowed?

23 Mar 2011 | 5 comments

My property has been empty for a few months now. The council gave me the six month empty discount but six months has now passed and they are charging me the full amount of council tax rather than 50% which they used to charge. Are they allowed to do this?

Answer

5 Comments

  1. adrianthompson

    Since 18 December 2003, the 50% discount became a discretionary discount and so local authorities are not obliged to give it. Where a dwelling has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for longer than six months, they may charge the full 100% of the due amount. This of course does not make sense (as was pointed out to me on the phone today by the person asking this question) because if the property is occupied by a single person, it will achieve a 25% discount.

    The single person discount will only apply if the occupier occupies the dwelling as his principle home so the landlord could not say he is living there (because he will have another principle home). However, a landlord could consider a relative occupying such as a son or daughter in order to achieve the 25% single person discount.

    With current severe budget cuts happening, it is likely that many local authorities will stop giving the discretionary 50% discount and will start to seek the full amount after six months.

    To clarify, the first six months of a property being unoccupied is an “exemption” and not a discount and is therefore not discretionary for the local authority. The six months exemption will therefore always apply as long as the property is vacant and substantially unfurnished.

    Many thanks

    Adrian

  2. 1476

    Once the 6 months allowance is used up. Will that property ever get that “exemption” again? Or is it gone for good even if the property is sold to someone else?

    • adrianthompson

      Hello

      The exemption is lost even if the property is sold as it relates to the dwelling not the bill payer. However, as soon as somebody moves in for example a tenant, then the exemption would start again when they vacate.

      Many thanks

      Adrian

  3. 1087

    I have been told by my council (Cornwall) that a property has to be tenanted for 6 weeks before they will give another exemption? Is that right or can I fight it?

    • guildy

      Hello

      That is correct, any one period of six weeks is disregarded when calculating a vacant property.

      Many thanks

      Adrian

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