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Exemptions

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

3. If someone has died

If someone has passed away, the property they were living in as their home may be exempt from paying Council Tax for a period. On this page you’ll find some information about any exemptions that may be awarded.

At the bottom of this page you can use our online form to let us know that someone has passed away, and also to provide details of any Personal Representatives. It’s important that you let us know as soon as possible so that the necessary changes can be made. The information you provide will help us determine what exemption, if any, should be given to the property. Although a copy of the will is not legally required, this can assist greatly and reduce the amount of enquiries we may have to make.

Frequently asked questions

What if the property has been left empty?

If the property was occupied by one adult, who has now died, the property may be exempt from Council Tax payment until probate is granted, or responsibility for the property is taken over by someone else.

Once probate is granted, as long as the property is still owned, leased or the tenancy is still held, by the person who has passed away, a further exemption may apply for a maximum period of 6 months.

An exemption will not apply where the property is returned to a landlord; the property is jointly owned by another party (including Tenants in Common); someone moves into the property; or the property is transferred, sold or assented to someone else.

It's important that we are kept informed whenever furniture is removed from, or added to the property. This information may change the amount of Council Tax payable.

An additional premium of 50% will be charged on properties that are empty and unfurnished for two years or more. Please note that this additional premium may follow the award of a Council Tax exemption on properties left empty following the death of the liable person.

What if ownership of the property changes?

When the property is sold or legally transferred to someone else (for example, due to probate or sale), the new owner becomes responsible for Council Tax. It is therefore important that we are informed immediately of the date of transfer, completion or assent, and the name of the new legal owner(s).

What if the property is occupied?

Where the property is occupied by someone who shared the same legal interest in the property with the deceased person (for example, a joint owner, tenant, or spouse/partner), a new Council Tax account will be created.

If the property is now occupied by a relative, or someone that did not share the same legal interest in the property as the person who has died, a new Council Tax account will be required.

If a new occupier moves into the property, a new account will be created.

We must be kept informed of any changes to the residents of the property in order to ensure that the correct amount of Council Tax is charged.

What reductions to Council Tax are available?

If the property is now occupied by only one adult (aged 18 or over), a 25% discount can be applied for. Similarly, if there is more than one adult occupier, but other members of the household qualify to be disregarded (for example, full-time students), it may also result in a discount being awarded. View our Students and apprentices page for more information.

If the property has been adapted for use by a disabled resident, a reduction may apply. View our Disabled Person's Relief page for more information.

Who is liable for Council Tax?

Where the property is occupied, the resident with the highest legal interest is usually liable.

Where the property is empty, liability usually falls to the owner, leaseholder or tenant, whichever is applicable. However, where the liability would fall to the person who has passed away, an Executor or Personal Representative is usually appointed to deal with the affairs. The Executor or Personal Representative is responsible for ensuring that any payment of Council Tax is met from the Estate of the Deceased.

Although responsible, the Executor or Personal Representative is not personally liable (except when they also have a freehold interest in the property). It is the responsibility of the Executor or Personal Representative to ensure that we are kept informed of all changes to the property.

Apply for exemption

Use our online form to let us know that someone has passed away. The form takes about 10 minutes to complete.

We’ll ask you for:

  • A copy of the Death Certificate
  • A copy of the will
  • A copy of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (if obtained)
  • The name of the deceased person and their usual address, including Council Tax account number
  • Name, address and contact details of the person dealing with their affairs
  • Details of any hospital or nursing homes the person stayed at, and the dates they were away from the property
  • The current situation at the property (for example, is it occupied?)

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