Council Tax discounts

Changes to discounts with effect from 1 April 2017

Unoccupied, unfurnished and uninhabitable properties will no longer be eligible for any Council Tax discount from 1 April 2017.

The full amount of Council Tax for these properties will become payable from this date.

This decision was passed by the council on 11 July 2016 and there is no provision in the Council Tax legislation to appeal against this.

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in the property. You may be eligible to pay less Council Tax if:

  • Only one adult lives in a property
  • People who are disregarded for Council Tax are living in the property
  • The property is unoccupied, or
  • People with disabilities have had alterations made to the property to meet their special needs.

Sole or single adult occupancy

You can get 25% off your bill if you are the only adult living in your home. We require:

  • confirmation that you are the only person over the age of 18 in the property and that it is your only or main residence.
  • the date your occupancy started.

The quickest way to submit and process your application is through your Council Tax account. Or complete the Application for Single Occupancy Discount form.

People who are disregarded

You can get a discount if all the adults, except one, are:

  • aged 18 but still at school attracting child benefit, 18 or 19 year old school leavers.
  • a full time student, student nurse, trainee on youth trainee course, apprentice, foreign language assistant, part time student under the age of 20 or non British spouses of full time students. Student eligibility criteria
  • a patient in hospital, nursing or care home. Patient and care eligibility criteria
  • a carer for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner or child under 18. Carer eligibility criteria
  • a person who is severely mentally impaired (e.g. Alzheimer's). Eligibility criteria for people who are severely mentally impaired
  • a member of international headquarters and defence organisations or a member of a religious community.
  • members (and dependants) of visiting forces.
  • people with diplomatic privilege or immunity.
  • a resident of certain types of hostel.
  • a person in prison.

Unoccupied properties 

You can get a discount if your property is:

  • Unoccupied and unfurnished
  • Uninhabitable
  • Long term empty

Note: Even if there is a change in ownership, if the property had previously been awarded a similar discount, it will not be possible to award a further period of discount unless the property has been occupied for a minimum period of six weeks.

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties

You may be able to get a 100% discount for a maximum period of six weeks if a property is unoccupied and unfurnished.

1. A furnished property unoccupied for 0-6 months

A property that is unoccupied and furnished attracts the full 100% tax from the date that it becomes unoccupied, it does not progress to the Premium rate of 150%.

2. An unfurnished property unoccupied for 0-6 months

This type of property attracts a 100% discount for a maximum period of 42 days from the date it became unoccupied and unfurnished (providing that a period of at least 6 weeks of occupation has occurred since the end of any previous unoccupied discount).  Following the end of the 100% discount it reduces to the zero% discount until 2 years have expired from the date it became first became unoccupied and unfurnished, a Premium tax rate of 150% then becomes payable.

3. A furnished property unoccupied for months 7 onwards and for a long period

Currently this would be the same  as a furnished property unoccupied for 0-6 months.

4. An unfurnished property unoccupied for months 7 onwards and for a long period.

From month 7 to month 24 a zero discount would apply and then a premium tax rate of 150% applies.

Uninhabitable properties

You may be able to get a 25% reduction for the maximum period of one year if an unoccupied/unfurnished property needs, or is undergoing, structural alteration or major repair from the date the property required the structural alteration or major repair.

Long-term empty premium

Properties that have been kept unfurnished and have not been occupied for more than 2 years will attract a premium rate of Council Tax of 150% based on the current band in which the property falls.

Visit discounts and exemptions for more information concerning discounts, exemptions and other reliefs from council tax.

People with disabilities

If a room in your home is used to meet the special needs of a disabled resident, your Council Tax bill may be reduced by one band below that set by the Valuation Office Agency.

Alterations to your home can include:

  • The creation of extra space for a wheelchair to be used indoors.
  • The use of a room for dialysis equipment.
  • The addition of an extra bathroom or kitchen. 

Apply for discount

  • Log into your account for a full list of criteria and to apply. This is the fastest way to process your application.
  • Or email and let us know which discount you are applying for. Allow up to 14 working days for a response.

See also

Change of circumstances

Your entitlement may be affected if there is a change in circumstances. Let us know if you change your details so we can update your account.

Low income

In some cases we can help with rent and Council Tax payments for people on low incomes. View Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction for more information.