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Empty homes

What happens if you leave your property empty.

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

Long term empty properties

If you leave your property empty and unfurnished for two years or more, we will charge an extra 100 per cent to your Council Tax bill. This means that you will have to pay 200 per cent Council Tax on the property.

This is called the empty homes premium

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 www.voa.gov.uk.

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.

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.

Empty Period

Premium Charge for 2013 to 2018

Premium charge from 1.4.19

% on top of full Council Tax

Premium charge from 1.4.20

% on top of full Council Tax

Premium charge from 1.4.21

% on top of full Council Tax

2 years and less than 5 years

50% extra Council Tax

100%

100%

100%

5 years and less than 10 years

50% extra Council Tax

100%

200%

200%

Over 10 years

50% extra Council Tax

100%

200%

300%

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

We carry out an annual empty home review to ensure we have up to date records on all the empty furnished and unfurnished properties within the Borough. Our visiting officer will also carry out inspections if there are queries relating to properties within the review.

If your property becomes occupied please contact us immediately on 020 8496 3000 or email at Revenue.services@walthamforest.gov.uk so that we can amend our records and prevent additional charges.