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Changes to Council Tax Empty Property Exemptions

Published Thursday 20 August, 2020
Last updated on Wednesday 6 October, 2021

Short-term empty property discount

As approved at Full Council on 26 November 2014, the short-term empty property discount of 100% awarded to empty and unfurnished properties will be reduced from 3 months to 1 month from 1 April 2015. Any discount awarded before 1 April 2015 will end on 31 March 2015 or 1 month after it commences if the award starts from 2 March 2015 onwards.

Empty property premium

The Council Tax Empty Property Premium was introduced by Parliament in 2013, as an incentive to move empty property back in to use. We levied an additional 50% Council Tax on top of the normal Council Tax charge for properties which remained unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two years, since 1 April 2015.

On 1 November 2018 the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 was introduced to allow authorities to vary the percentage of premium that is charged, based on the length of time that a property has been empty. At the Full Council meeting held on 20 February 2019 Swale Borough Council approved the decision to increase the empty property premium charge to 100% on top of the normal Council Tax, if a property has been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two years.

The following additional charges will apply if a property remains unoccupied and unfurnished.

Financial year 2020 to 2021

  • Maximum of 100% premium - empty less than 5 years
  • Maximum of 200% premium - empty more than 5 years

Financial year 2021 onwards

  • Maximum of 100% premium – empty less than 5 years
  • Maximum of 200% premium - empty at least 5 years but less than 10
  • Maximum of 300% premium – empty at least 10 years

You can find out more about getting an empty property back into use.

  • Council Tax account reference number
  • email address