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Property Discounts - Second Homes and other Properties (including Annexes)

If you have a second home which is not your sole or main residence, you may have to pay Council Tax for them both unless you meet certain criteria.

You will have to pay the usual Council Tax for the property which is your main home. This will normally be either 100% or 75%, depending on how many people live there. In addition you may also have to pay the full amount of Council Tax for the second home or property.

You may not have to pay Council Tax for both properties if:

  • an exemption applies, or
  • somebody else has their sole or main residence in your other property.

Unoccupied Properties

From 1 April 2018 Council Tax Empty Homes charges for East Herts are changing.

 Up to 31 March 2018From 1 April 2018
Empty (Unoccupied and Unfurnished)50% discount for up to 2 monthsNo discount - 100% of liability
Empty (Unoccupied and Unfurnished) and undergoing major repairs or structural work50% discount for up to 6 monthsNo discount - 100% of liability
Empty (Unoccupied and Unfurnished) for over 2 years150% of liabilityNo change - 150% of liability

Please note from 1 April 2018:

  • That a property that is empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) will receive no further discount as of 01.04.18
  • That a property that is empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) for a period of up to 6 months and is undergoing major repairs or structural work prior to 01.04.18 will receive no further discount as of 01.04.18

  • That a property that is empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) for a period of 2 years or more prior to 01.04.18 will attract a 150% charge.

Some examples of the changes

  • A single person who moves out of a property which they own, will find that their council tax bill will rise. This is because once the property is unoccupied and unfurnished it does not attract a single-person discount, and the full 100% charge is due.

For example:

A Single person is resident and is charged 75% of the Council tax liability

The single person leaves the property the charge is 100%

 

The owner then lets the property to a couple, and the charge is 100% of liability.

  • Landlords will find that where a property is unoccupied and unfurnished they will have to pay a full 100% council tax charge. A property which is unoccupied and furnished will attract a full 100% council tax charge.
  • New owner(s) of a property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished will pay a full 100% council tax charge from the completion date of purchase and owners who leave a property unoccupied and unfurnished prior to completion of a sale will pay a full 100% council tax up to the completion date of the sale.
  • New tenant(s) of a property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished will pay a full 100% council tax charge from the tenancy commencement date and tenants moving out pay a full 100% council tax charge up to the date the tenancy agreement ends.
  • Individuals buying a property which requires repairing or rebuilding, which they cannot or do not live in whilst the work is ongoing, will be liable for a full 100% council tax charge.

Empty Homes Premium 

Billing authorities can charge up to 150% on properties which have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for over two years. This is known as the 'empty homes premium'. It is for the billing authority to decide whether to levy an empty homes premium.

Job-related accommodation

A 50% discount continues to be available to individuals who live in 'job-related dwellings' but who are liable for council tax on another property. This applies in England, Scotland and Wales. A 'job-related dwelling' is defined as one which is:

...provided for him by reason of his employment or for his spouse [or civil partner by reason of that person's] employment, in any of the following cases -

(a) where it is necessary for the proper performance of the duties of the employment that the employee should reside in that dwelling;

(b) where the dwelling is provided for the better performance of the duties of the employment, and it is one of the kinds of employment in the case of which it is customary for employers to provide dwellings to employees;

(c) where, there being a special threat to the employee's security, special security arrangements are in force and the employee resides in the dwelling as part of those arrangements.15

There is a body of case law around the definition

Annexes

With effect from 1 April 2014 a 50% discount in respect of an occupied or unoccupied annexe to a property is available in certain circumstances. 

There two circumstances in which the discount may be awarded they are:

  • The occupier of an annexe, who is liable, can get a discount if they are a relative of the occupier of the main home
  • The occupier of the main home can get a discount on an annexe they are liable for where it is being used as part of the main home, which we currently treat as unoccupied but furnished  (e.g. gym)

If you meet either of the above criteria then please let us know by writing to or emailing this office at the above address, with an explanation as to how you meet the criteria.    

Once in receipt of a discount should there be a change in your circumstances that may affect your entitlement to the discount you must advise the Revenues Department within 21 days.

Discounts are reviewed periodically. We may ask you to provide information that helps us to do this.

Failing to supply this information or supplying false information could mean any entitlement is cancelled and a penalty of £70 being applied to your account for each year of the failure to notify.

If you wish to apply for a discount for any of the above categories please contact us.