Usually Council Tax must be paid for any property that is listed on the Council Tax valuation list. However certain types of property are exempt from any charge.
Vacant properties are exempt from Council Tax if they:
- are unfurnished (exempt for up to one month). A premium of 100% is now added to bills where properties have been empty and substantially unfurnished for more than 24 months. A premium of 200% is added after five years.
- are owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months).
- are left empty by someone who has gone to live in a hospital, nursing or residential care home.
- are left empty by someone who has gone to live elsewhere (not a hospital or care home) to receive care because of old age, disablement, illness, drug or alcohol dependency or mental disorder.
- are left empty by someone who has gone into prison or other place of detention, such as hospital under the Mental Health Act.
- are left empty by someone who has moved in order to provide personal care for another person.
- are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (and for up to six months after).
- have been repossessed.
- are the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee.
- are empty because their occupation is forbidden by law.
- are waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion.
- were last occupied by a student who was the owner.
- are caravan pitches or boat moorings.
- are separately banded dwellings which form part of another property or are situated within the curtilage of another property and are not allowed to be let separately. For example an annexe which could not be let separately without a breach of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Other exempt properties which are not vacant:
- forces barracks and married quarters (contributions to the cost of local services are received through a special arrangement).
- visiting forces accommodation.
- student occupied households and those which include spouses or dependants of overseas students who are not British citizens and unable to work or claim benefit.
- halls of residence.
- properties occupied solely by people under 18 years of age.
- dwellings occupied only by a person or persons who are severely mentally impaired.
- certain dwellings occupied by diplomats.
- annexes occupied by a dependant relative of the resident of the main dwelling. Dependant relatives are defined as being 65 or over, or severely mentally impaired or permanently disabled.