Council Tax and Empty properties

The person responsible for an empty property will be liable to pay 100% council tax; for example, an owner of an empty property or a tenant that moves out before their tenancy ends.

Second Homes from 1 April 2025

The government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill gave greater flexibility for councils to apply premiums on second homes and long term empty properties.

On 21 February 2024 Gravesham Borough Council agreed to introduce a 100% premium on second homes from 1 April 2025.

A second home is a property that is periodically occupied rather than a main residence.

The 100% second home premium will apply from the first day that the property is considered a second home. Owners of a second home will face a double council tax bill from 1 April 2025.

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

Read the details of these exemptions.

Long-term empty

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 fill in the empty property premium removal request form.

Apply for an empty property premium removal

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.

No use empty logo

We want to bring empty homes back into use

If you have an empty property there are lots of options available to help you get it back into use. Or you could let us know about a empty home.

Read about empty homes