Council Tax and Empty properties

The person responsible for an empty property will be liable to pay any council tax; for example an owner of an empty property or a tenant that moves out before their tenancy ends.

Currently the maximum council tax discount will be for 1 month unless the property is undergoing major repairs or structural alterations , when the discount can be up to 12 months. This will only be valid until the 31 March 2024. 

There are limited circumstances where the property can be exempt until it is sold or re-occupied.

Read the details of these exemptions.

Empty and unfurnished property

We may be able to reduce your Council Tax bill by 100% for up to one month if you own a property that no-one is living in, and is unfurnished.

It is important to note that in order to be eligible for the discount all applications must be submitted before the 31 March 2024. 

From the 1 April 2024 a 100% Council Tax will be charged for properties that are unoccupied. 

To be able to give you this exemption we may need to come and visit the property to check it is  empty.

Major repairs or structural alterations

We may be able to give you a 100% discount on your council tax bill for up to 12 months if your property requires major repairs or structural alterations in order to make habitable and no-one is living in the property. 

This reduction will end on the 31 March 2024 and will no longer be available and a 100% council tax will be due.  

It is important to note that in order to be eligible for the discount all applications must be submitted before the 31 March 2024. 

Occupying an Empty Property

A new period of discount will apply if the property has been occupied for 6 weeks or more. We will have to visit the property to confirm that it is occupied by someone as their main home and may ask for additional evidence such as utility bills or electoral role information. This will end on the 31 March 2024, so please ensure that your application is submitted by this date. 

Long-term empty

If a property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for more than 2 years you will have to pay a 100% premium.

From the 1 April 2024 a 100% premium will apply to a property that is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 1 year or more. 

Read the Government guidance which states that:

‘A property which is substantially unfurnished is unlikely to be…. capable of occupation. A property capable of occupation can reasonably be expected to contain…bed(s), chairs, table, wardrobe or sofa and white goods such as fridge, freezer or cooker.’

This is not a complete list and we will need to visit your property to see how it is furnished and whether it can be considered as capable of occupation.

The current rates of council tax premiums are as follows:

  • 100% for properties which have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more, but less than 5 years until the 31 March 2024. 
    Changes will be made from the 1 April 2024 which will result in a 100% premium for properties that have been empty for 1 year or more.
    This means 200% council tax is payable.
  • 200% for properties which have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 5 years or more but less than 10 years. This means 300% council tax is payable. 
  • 300% for properties which have been empty and substantially unfurnished for 10 years or more. This means 400% council tax is payable.

We will automatically apply the premium to a property as soon as it has been empty for the required period. A new bill will be sent to you to show the increased installment payments.

If you feel that a premium should not apply to your property, please email us at council.tax@gravesham.gov.uk with a contact telephone number so we can arrange to visit the property.

Properties in disrepair or derelict

The council has a legal obligation to raise and collect any council tax liabilities in respect of a domestic property which is contained in the Council Tax list. The Valuation Office Agency is the government department for maintaining such a list. There are limited circumstances where a property may be deleted from a list. For further information visit GOV.UK

If you consider that your property should be removed from the list then you should contact the Valuation Office Agency directly. You will be required to continue to pay any charges due until such time that the property is removed from the list. Any resulting overpayment will be refunded.