Issue - meetings

Council Tax - Empty Homes Discounts and Premiums

Meeting: 09/01/2024 - Executive (Item 69)

69 Council Tax - Empty Homes Discounts and Premiums pdf icon PDF 320 KB

This item is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Budget Scrutiny Working Group scheduled to take place on 2nd January 2024.  Any recommendations in respect of this report, subject to the endorsement of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, will be reported to the Executive Committee in a supplementary pack for this meeting.



The Portfolio Holder for Finance and Enabling presented the Council Tax Empty Home Discounts and Premiums report. It was reported that until April 2004 empty homes were eligible for a Council Tax discount of 50%. However, a series of amendments to Council Tax legislation, made since 2004, had given billing authorities the power to reduce or remove the discount for unoccupied dwellings and, in the case of long-term empty homes, to impose a Council Tax premium.


The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 had introduced further changes to the discount and premiums for unoccupied homes. The most significant changes were outlined as follows:


·       the period for which a dwelling must be vacant before a property was classed as a long-term empty dwelling was reduced from 2 years to 1 year, and a requirement introduced to consider guidance issued by the Secretary of State before the application of premiums was decided.

·       Powers were given to the billing authority to apply a premium of up to 100% for any dwellings that were furnished and had no residents. These dwellings would usually be second homes where the owner lived elsewhere and used the property as holiday or occasional accommodation.


The Executive Committee were informed that the Council currently applied the full premium to all long-term empty homes. The decision to apply premiums was made on the basis that a dwelling would be subject to the premium if vacant for 2 years or more.  The amendment to section 11B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 meant that, from 1st April 2024 the existing wording of the Council’s determination meant that, the premium would be applied to all dwellings that had been vacant for twelve months or more.


It was reported that at the commencement of the 2022/23 tax year - the first year that the Council applied the Premium - 133 dwellings were subject to the Premium. The number of dwellings for which the Premium was now levied had reduced to 61 dwellings. 


Following the presentation of the report Members stated that they welcomed the report and on being put to the vote it was




1)    From 1st April 2024, under section 11B(1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, for long-term empty dwellings the discount under section 11(2)(a) would not apply and the additional Council Tax Premium applied would be:

                      i.          For a dwelling that had been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for less than 5 years – 100% premium.

                    ii.          For a dwelling that had been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 5 years or more, but less than 10 years – 200% premium.

                  iii.          For a dwelling that had been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 10 years or more – 300% premium.


2)    The Head of Financial and Customer Services on a case-by-case basis may consider a reduction to the long-term empty premium under section 13A(1)(C) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.