You will have to pay full Council Tax if you:

  • leave your furnished or unfurnished property empty
  • leave your property empty while it's being altered
  • have a second home

Important changes to Long term empty properties

The Council will be using new legislation from the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 that came into force in October 2023 to discourage the number of homes left empty, or only used periodically, in the borough by charging a premium of 100% on top of the Council Tax due. 

From 1 April 2024, any home that has been empty for at least 12 months will be charged twice the usual Council Tax rate. This will expand the Empty Property Council Tax Premium, which currently applies to homes that have been vacant for two years or more. Further premiums will continue to apply after 5 and 10 years

Empty Homes Premium

A long-term empty property is classified as

  • empty and unfurnished properties
  • second homes
  • uninhabitable properties/properties undergoing building works

The above properties will not be eligible for a discount of exemption unless the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) removes the property from the Council Tax rating list.

To get a property removed from the Valuation list it must be deemed as derelict, a property undergoing refurbishment will not be considered. For further information please contact the VOA on 03000501501 or visit their website at

Second Homes

A second home is a property which is not the ‘sole or main residence’ of any individual for Council Tax purposes. This may include a ‘holiday home’. It may also include a property which the owner does not regularly occupy but another property is defined as their ‘sole or main residence.

Under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Action 2023, new legislation for second homes has also been introduced that will allow the Council to charge twice the usual Council Tax for properties that are substantially furnished and are used periodically rather than as a main residence. For example, second homes from 1 April 2025

Empty Homes Premium explained

The empty home premium applies to the property and therefore will remain following a change of ownership. The premium will only cease once the property is occupied.

An additional amount of Council Tax known as long-term empty premium will be charged on properties that have been empty for more than two years.

The premium is designed to encourage the owners of long-term empty properties to bring them back into occupational use. The Legislation regarding the empty home premium has been in place since April 2013 and has been increased each year since April 2018.

The empty home premium will be charged for properties that are empty for more than two years and will increase for properties empty for more than five years and more than 10 years as shown below.

Premium rateProperties affectedDate premium introduced
100%Properties empty for two years but less than five years1 April 2019
200%Properties empty for five years but less than ten years1 April 2020
300%Properties empty for over ten years1 April 2021
100%Properties empty for twelve months but less than five years1 April 2024

There are two types of property that are not affected by the premium:

  • A property which is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away from the property as a result of their service
  • A property which forms part of a single property, for example, an annexe.

If your bill shows a long-term empty premium and you think that your property is in one of the above categories please contact us immediately on

Related links