In April 2013 local authorities in England & Scotland were given the delegated powers to increase Council Tax charges on empty property. The charge applies to properties left unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a period of 2 years or longer (12 months or more in Scotland – with some exceptions).
With effect from 01 April 2017 the local authorities in Wales have been given delegated powers to increase empty property charges to a maximum of double the normal Council Tax charge due on the property.
If you have a house which is empty, and has been for some time, eventually a revised Council Tax demand notice will drop through your letterbox.
Empty property charges
In England a local authority is limited to a 50% premium, that is that is one and a half times the usual Council Tax charge. In Scotland the premium can be up to 100%, that is double the usual Council Tax charge. In Wales the local authorities were not awarded the delegated powers to set a premium on a long-term empty property, this however will change with effect from 01 April 2017.
Unlike England the Welsh system will apply to a property which has been empty for a period of 1 year or longer. The local authority will be able to levy an increase of up to 100%, , that is twice the usual Council Tax charge. A similar charge has been introduced on second homes.
For the first year the Welsh local authorities have not all applied the maximum 100% increase – Newport has decided on 25% and Pembrokeshire for 50%. It remains to be seen however if this level of reduction will hold or whether the charge will be increase further for the 2018/19 tax year.
Types of property
There will be some exceptions to the rules which will stop the premium from being applied. In broad terms the Welsh premium does not apply to:
An exempt property.
A property advertised for sale or awaiting completion (for up to 12 months).
A property advertised for let or awaiting completion (for up to 12 months).
A property which would be the usual ‘sole or main residence’ of a member of the armed forces.
Some caravan pitches or boat moorings.
Advice & Assistance from LGFA92
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Contact us today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Call our Council Tax helpline on 0191 6451118.
This article is solely the view of LGFA92, the Council Tax experts, based on our interpretation of legislation. Your local authority is free to dispute this view. A binding decision may require the intervention of a valuation tribunal.