Changes to Council Tax on unoccupied properties From April 2009
The Local Government Act 2003 received Royal Assent on the 18 September 2003. It allowed local billing authorities discretion to charge additional amounts on unoccupied properties. This discretion can be applied for second homes and long-term empty homes from 1 April 2004.
From 1 April 2009 Amber Valley Borough Council has exercised its discretion to vary the discount applicable to properties that are not occupied as anyone's main residence and that are not exempt from Council Tax.
If the unoccupied property is furnished (known as a "second home" for Council Tax purposes), then the Council Tax bill will be reduced by 10% (the only exception to this is where the property occupied elsewhere by the council tax payer is required for job related purposes, i.e. the property is provided by the occupier's employer as a condition of employment, in which case the Council Tax bill on the unoccupied property will continue to be reduced by 50%).
If the unoccupied property is substantially unfurnished (known as a "long-term empty property" for Council Tax purposes) then no discount will be allowed after any exempt period has expired.
Further changes to second homes from 1 April 2013
From 1 April 2013 the regulations are changing again meaning that the 10% reduction may also be removed and from 1 April 2013 no discount will be allowed on second homes.
Changes to Exempt Class "A" and Exempt Class "C" From 1 April 2013
Until 31 March 2013 dwellings which have been unoccupied and (except in the case of dwellings owned and last occupied by a charity) unfurnished are exempt for up to six months, commonly referred to as Exempt Class C dwellings.
New dwellings, and some dwellings which have recently been the subject of major works or structural alteration, are exempt for up to six months after completion of the work or twelve months since becoming exempt through the major works or structural alteration, so long as they remain unoccupied and unfurnished, commonly referred to as Exempt Class A dwellings.
From 1 April 2013 Class A and Class C Council Tax exemptions have been abolished and replaced with a discount (0%-100%). Therefore from 1 April 2013 accounts in receipt of a Class A or Class C Council Tax exemption will become immediately liable to a council tax charge (0%-100%).