Money Wellness
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calendar icon14 Mar 2024

Government cracks down on council tax of empty homes

If you have a second property left empty for 12 months, you may face a double council tax charge from April, along with a host of other price hikes.

These new rules mean that that homeowners will be charged premium council tax on long-term empty properties from 1st  April.

Local councils can introduce this charge from the start of the news 2024/25 financial year. Until earlier this month, the premium was only for homes that have been left empty for 24 months, but it’s been brought to 12 to to accommodate local people who are struggling with housing due to the cost of living crisis.

Timothy Douglas of Propertymark, a trade body for estate agents, said, “Whilst we welcome the focus from the UK Government on cracking down on long term empty homes, it would be more effective to introduce a dedicated grant scheme alongside other incentives such as interest-free loans and a first-time buyer’s grant to support people to bring empty property back into use, rather than penalising them through higher council tax premiums until they do so.”

Will this premium charge affect me?

If you have a second property that’s currently standing empty, you may be pleased to know there are a few exemptions to the new charge:

  • If your home is empty because of renovation purposes
  • If the house can’t be used all year round due to planning limitations
  • if you inherited the property after a family member’s death

Claim your exemption here.

Other discounts:

You may own a home where you only have to pay service charges, such as a boat or static caravan

If you own an annexe, you might qualify for a council tax reduction of up to 50%, or a full rebate if you have any family members with disabilities. 

The best way to find out how much you have to pay, or what discounts you may get is to  contact your local council.

Some councils may offer you council tax relief on a second home, but be warned many local councils won’t do this anymore.

How much is my council tax going up?

Councils have the freedom to raise tax by 3% — plus another 2% for social care, yearly, and it’s highly likely the price will be hiked to the full 5%.

 It means band D could rise from an average of £2,065 to as much as £2,168  a year, which is £103 more.

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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