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Long Term Empty Property Council Tax Premium consultation

We are reviewing our policy relating to council tax charges for empty properties and want your views on proposals which would see the premium charge increased for long term empty properties.


Empty properties can deteriorate rapidly and become a target for vandalism and crime, having a negative effect on the neighbourhood and surrounding area. 

In our Long Term Empty Properties Policy, since April 2013, we have charged a 50% premium on properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years unless they were undergoing major repairs. Up to 12 months delay on paying the premium could be provided to allow major repairs to be completed.

Following a change in the law, which came into effect April 2019, we can now charge a larger percentage of premium for these types of houses.

The premium provides an incentive to the owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into use and could potentially boost the supply of properties available to rent in the county and help support our housing and homeless strategies.

The empty property premium was first introduced in April 2013. By October 2013, 727 properties had been brought back into use. A third of all long-term empty properties are owned by absent landlords.

Financial assistance

Our  Icon for pdf Private sector housing financial assistance policy (PDF, 635.0kb)  can give access to finance to help owners bring empty properties back into use.

What changes are we proposing?

To encourage owners to bring empty properties back into use we want your views on increasing the premium on unoccupied and unfurnished homes as follows:

  • should empty the property premium be increased:
    • empty property for over 2 years would be charged 75% or 100% premium (a Band A property with a council tax of £1346 with the 100% premium would pay £2692 per year)
    • empty property for over 5 years would be charged 100% or 200% premium (the same Band A property with the 200% premium would pay £4038 per year)
  • premiums will apply to properties undergoing major repairs, removing the additional period of up to 12 months which allowed work to be completed before the premium applied

The proposed changes would come into force from April 2020. You can read more on the proposals in the cabinet report.

Have your say

Your responses will help us to decide if our plans on charging revised premiums on long term empty properties should be introduced.

The deadline for comments was 5.00pm on 6 October 2019.

What happens next

Following consultation feedback, the Long Term Empty Properties Policy will be updated and presented to Cabinet for approval

Contact us
03000 263 593
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