Empty and unoccupied properties
A full council tax charge applies to all properties that are not in use as a main home or are unfurnished, this includes:
- furnished properties not in use as a main home i.e. second homes
- unoccupied and substantially unfurnished property that has been so for less than two years. After a period of two years, a long-term empty property premium is charged
- properties undergoing major repair or structural alteration
From 1 April 2021 under Section 11B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 as amended by the Local Government Finance Act 2012 and Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 Kingston Council has determined that properties that have been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 5 years or more will be subject to a 300% premium effective from 1 April 2021. The Council Taxpayer will have to pay 400% of the Council Tax charge.
A premium of the relevant band charge is applied depending on how long the property has been empty. For 2021/22 this will result in an additional levy depending on how long the applicable vacant dwelling has been empty for:
- 2 or more years, but less than 5 years, a levy of 100%, (i.e. a charge of 200%)
- 5 or more years, but less than 10 years, a levy of 200%, (i.e. a charge of 300%)
- 10 or more years, a levy of 300% (i.e. a charge of 400%)
As this premium applies to the property, a change of ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium. If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay the premium Council Tax charge.
We want to encourage owners of empty properties to get them occupied as quickly as possible. We want to maintain and improve our vibrant and prosperous borough and reduce the number of empty properties.
What to do now
We can help you rent your property:
- Rent your property out - Tenant Finder Service
- Lease your property to us - Private Leasing Scheme
- Empty property grant
Unoccupied property owned by a charity (Class B)
A property owned by a charity is exempt for up to 6 months if when last occupied it was used for the purposes of the charity.
Property left empty by a person in detention (Class D)
An unoccupied property is exempt if the owner or tenant is detained in prison, a hospital or some other place of detention unless they were imprisoned for non-payment of council tax or a fine.
Property left empty by someone living in a hospital or care home (Class E)
An unoccupied property is exempt if it was previously the sole or main home of the owner or tenant and their main home is now a hospital, care home or hostel where they are receiving treatment.
Property unoccupied because the owner or tenant has died (Class F)
Where a property is left unoccupied following the death of the owner or tenant, an exemption can be granted until probate is granted or letters of administration are obtained, and for up to six months afterwards, if it remains unoccupied.
However, if someone else has a legal interest in the property, the exemption will not apply and a full charge will be payable.
Property where occupation is prohibited by law (Class G)
An unoccupied property is exempt if it cannot be occupied by law, for instance where a compulsory purchase order has been made. However, if someone occupies a property despite such a prohibition, they will be liable for an occupied council tax charge.
Property left unoccupied for a minister of a religion (Class H)
An unoccupied property is exempt if held available for a minister of religion as somewhere from where they will perform their duties, for example, a vicarage. This applies whether or not it was used for such a purpose previously.
Property left empty by someone needing personal care (Class I)
An unoccupied property is exempt if it was previously the sole or main home of the owner or tenant and they have since gone to live elsewhere to receive care due to old age, disablement, past or present alcohol or drug dependence, or past or present mental disorder. This includes people being looked after by relatives and those in institutions that would not give rise to an exemption under Class E above.
Property left empty by a person providing personal care (Class J)
An unoccupied property is exempt if it was previously the sole or main home of the owner or tenant and they have since gone to live elsewhere to provide care to someone who requires care due to old age, disablement, past or present alcohol or drug dependence, or past or present mental disorder. They do not need to live with the person being cared for, but they must be better able to look after them from their new home.
Property left unoccupied by a student owner (Class K)
This exemption applies where a property was previously the sole or main home of a student who has moved elsewhere and no-one other than the student was living there.
Unoccupied property repossessed by a mortgagee (Class L)
An unoccupied property is exempt if it has been repossessed by a mortgage company and has not yet been sold.
Unoccupied property where the liable person is a trustee in bankruptcy (Class Q)
An unoccupied property is exempt if the person liable is a trustee in bankruptcy. This can be the Official Receiver (OR) or an insolvency practitioner (IP). The exemption will continue until the property is sold, or the trustee disclaims any interest in the property.
Unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring (Class R)
Council tax is charged on a pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat if it is someone’s sole or main home. A pitch or mooring not occupied by a caravan or boat is exempt.
Unoccupied annexes (Class T)
This exemption applies to an unoccupied annex that cannot be let separately from the main part of the property without breaching planning control.