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Council Tax Exemptions

Should your property be exempt from paying Council Tax?

Some properties are exempt from Council Tax. There are time limits for how long some of the exemptions can be allowed. If you think your property should be exempt from Council Tax, contact us for advice on how to apply. We may ask you to provide some supporting evidence but will tell you about this when you speak to us.

An occupied property can be exempt from Council Tax if it:

  • It is only occupied by students
  • All the residents are severely mentally impaired
  • All the residents are less than 18 years of age
  • The property is annexed to a family home and occupied by that family's elderly or disabled relatives (often known as 'granny flats')
  • At least one of the people liable to pay Council Tax is a foreign diplomat
  • At least one of the people liable to pay Council Tax is a member of a visiting force.
  • Is occupied solely by a Care Leaver / Care Leavers up to their 25th Birthday  

 An unoccupied property can be exempt from Council Tax if it:

  • Requires or is undergoing major repairs or is undergoing structural alterations (maximum 12 months) (use this  link to apply for an Exempt Dwelling exemption)
  • Was occupied by a person who was liable for Council Tax but has died and probate or letters of administration have not yet been granted following their death.
  • Is owned by a charity
  • Is unfurnished (maximum 6 months)
  • Was left empty by someone who has gone to prison, a detention centre or secure hospital
  • Was left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or a home, or elsewhere
  • Is empty because occupation is forbidden by law
  • Is waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion
  • Was left empty by someone who has moved out to provide personal care to another person (If applicable please complete the online form on the following link - Council Tax - Notification of Admission to a Care Home or Hospital)
  • Is owned by a student and was last occupied by that student
  • Has been repossessed
  • Is the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee
  • Is a site for a caravan or mobile home, or a mooring for a boat

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties

Under council tax regulations a vacant (i.e. unoccupied and unfurnished) dwelling is initially exempt from Council Tax for a maximum duration of six months from the day it became vacant. NB the period of the exemption begins from the date that the vacancy commenced regardless of any changes in liability or ownership.

A property is considered to be ‘long-term vacant’ once the vacancy has exceeded six months (or 12 months if also requiring / undergoing major repair) and does not qualify for another class of exemption from Council Tax.

By law, the policy as to the level of Council Tax discount (if any) that is to be applied for long-term vacant dwellings (from a range of 50% to 0%), has to be determined separately for each financial year. 

At a meeting of full Council, held on Wednesday 16th January 2019, a decision was approved that no discount be applied for long term vacant dwellings with effect from the 1st April 2019 (i.e. a full charge will apply).

This decision has been made in order to discourage property owners allowing empty properties to remain empty for long periods as many fall into disrepair, which can have a detrimental effect on other properties in their vicinity, in terms of both market value and quality of life, and can also encourage anti-social behaviour such as vandalism, littering, squatting and crime.

If your property exemption expires after the 1st April 2019 a revised council tax demand notice will be issued to you at the relevant time to advise you of your new council tax liability.

Unoccupied and furnished properties and second homes

There is no discount for unoccupied and furnished properties or second homes unless one of the following applies:

  • it is a pitch occupied by a caravan or mooring occupied by a boat
  • the liable person is also the liable person at another property which is job related, for example a publican
  • where the liable person is a member of the armed forces and another home is provided for them by the Ministry of Defence

Applying for an exemption

For students and severely mentally impaired you can apply online: Access your Council Tax Account online
For other applications please contact the revenues mail box for further information: 

Please note: while you are waiting to hear the result of an application for exemption, you must continue to pay your current bill, if you are finding this difficult you must contact us immediately.

After the exemption has been granted

If the Council Tax charge is reduced a new bill will be issued showing how much to pay.

If an exemption is granted, we will make periodic checks that it should remain in place including checks with outside organisations such as credit agencies. We may ask you to provide information or evidence that helps us to do this. Failing to supply this information could mean the exemption is cancelled.

Please remember, if the circumstances relating to the exemption change, you must tell us immediately.