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Council Tax Premiums on Long-Term Empty Homes and Second Homes

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There are 22 unitary authorities (county and county borough councils) that deliver a wide range of services.
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From 1 April 2017, local authorities can charge council tax premiums on long-term empty homes and second homes.

Local authorities will be able to charge up to 100% of the standard rate of council tax on these homes.  

The council tax premiums are intended as additional tools for:

  • local authorities to help bring empty homes back into use
  • to increase the supply of affordable housing and 
  • to enhance the sustainability of local communities.

Local authorities deciding to charge a premium will be encouraged to use the additional revenue to help meet local housing needs.

For the purposes of charging a premium, a long-term empty home is defined as a dwelling which is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least 1 year. A second home is defined as a dwelling which is not a person’s sole or main home and is substantially furnished.

Exemptions to the council tax premiums on long-term empty homes and second homes

Local authorities must apply certain exemptions if they decide to charge a premium. This is so that additional council tax is not charged in circumstance where it would be unreasonable or unfair to do so. If you are liable for a premium but think that you might qualify for an exemption, please contact your local authority (external link).

We have also published guidance to assist local authorities in their decision to implement a council tax premium.