Council Tax exemptions

Some households do not have to pay Council Tax.

Exemptions from Council Tax are divided into two types - those for unoccupied homes and those for occupied homes.

Unoccupied homes

Vacant dwellings requiring major repairs or structural alterations The exemption is valid for whichever is the lesser of 12 months from the day the dwelling became vacant or 6 months after the repairs or structural works are substantially completed. From 1 April 2013 empty and unfurnished properties will no longer receive the exemption so the full Council Tax charge will be payable.
Owned by a charity The dwelling must be unoccupied, owned by a charity, and when last occupied was occupied for the purpose of the charity. The exemption is valid for up to 6 months after the last person vacated and the '6 weeks' rule applies.
Unoccupied and unfurnished dwellings and newly erected dwellings As from 1 April 2013, unoccupied and unfurnished properties are liable for 100% Council Tax, as no reduction is awarded. The position of a newly erected or converted dwelling is the same except that a 'completion notice' is served on the relevant person stating the date on which the building is deemed to be completed and from which the liability will apply.
Dwelling left empty by a person detained elsewhere The dwelling must be unoccupied and have been the liable person's sole or main residence immediately prior to them being detained. The liable person must be detained by a court, remanded in custody or detained under military law. An exemption will be invalidated if the person is in prison for non-payment of a fine or Council Tax. The exemption will remain valid for the whole period the circumstances exist.
Dwelling left empty by a person living in a hospital or care home The dwelling must be unoccupied and have been the liable person's sole or main residence immediately prior to them becoming resident in the hospital, residential care home, nursing home, or mental nursing home. They must be in the hospital or home to receive 'care or treatment' and the exemption remains valid for the whole period the circumstances exist.
Owner is the 'personal representative' of a deceased person The exemption occurs if the dwelling is unoccupied and the deceased person was the owner and liable person immediately prior to their death. By law all property, if not owned by an operating company, must at all times be owned by a living person. Therefore at the instant of a person's death ownership of their property is temporarily transferred to a person known as the personal representative of the deceased person, usually the executor of the deceased person's estate. When probate is awarded the ownership transfers to the beneficiary of the will. The exemption is valid while the deceased person's personal representative is the owner and during any period for up to 6 months after probate is awarded if the property remains unoccupied. The '6 weeks' rule applies for the period after probate.
Occupation prohibited by law The dwelling is unoccupied and re-occupation is prohibited by statute or by actions taken to compulsorily acquire the property. The exemption remains valid throughout entire period the re-occupation is prohibited. Contractual prohibitions between landlord and tenant that prohibit occupation do not qualify.
Dwelling held empty for occupation by a minister of religion The dwelling must be unoccupied and held for the minister to perform his duties from. The denomination of the minister and the last use and current ownership are not relevant. The exemption is valid throughout entire period the position exists.
Left empty by a person needing personal care The dwelling must be unoccupied and have been the owner's sole or main residence before they moved to where they are now. The owner must now reside elsewhere other than a hospital or nursing home in order to receive personal care and have been in that place for the whole of the period since they left the dwelling. The personal care must be because of old age, disablement, illness, past or present alcohol or drug dependence, or past or present mental disorder. The exemption will remain valid for the whole period the circumstances exist.
Left empty by a person providing personal care The dwelling must be unoccupied and the owner reside somewhere else in order to provide personal care to another person. The dwelling must have been the owner's sole or main residence prior to them moving to where they are now and the place the owner now lives need not be the same as the place the person receiving the care lives but it must be a place from which the care can be better provided. The owner must have had their residence in that place since they left the dwelling and the exemption will remain valid for the whole period the circumstances exist.
Left unoccupied by a student(s) The dwelling must be unoccupied and last occupied by students only. One of the students must have been the liable person at the time they vacated, and they must been a student or became one within 6 weeks of vacating. The exemption remains valid throughout the entire period that the situation exists.
Mortgagee in possession The mortgagee is the lender of a loan secured by the dwelling, the owner of the dwelling is the person who received the loan, and the owner was the liable person immediately prior to the mortgagee taking possession in default of the loan. The dwelling must be unoccupied and the exemption remains valid until possession is relinquished or property sold or let.
Owner is a bankrupt The owner of the unoccupied dwelling is a bankrupt and the exemption applies even if the owner is jointly liable with another person. The exemption remains valid throughout the entire period the situation exists.
Vacated Caravan Pitches and Boat Moorings Any pitch or mooring that is not occupied by a caravan or boat is exempt for the whole of the time they are unoccupied. The exemption ceases immediately they become occupied.
Unoccupied annexe to an occupied dwelling An unoccupied and separate dwelling in a main dwelling (usually descriptively called a 'granny flat') but one that cannot be separately let from the main dwelling. The exemption will be valid throughout entire period situation exists.

Occupied homes

Halls of Residence for students The Halls must be owned or managed by a prescribed educational establishment as accommodation predominantly for students and the fact that tutors use some accommodation does not invalidate the exemption. Accommodation provided for student nurses does not qualify for the exemption but accommodation for students of nursing courses at a prescribed educational establishment does.
Occupied only by students, school or college leavers The dwelling must be occupied only by students or school leavers and only as term-time accommodation. The exemption continues during periods of academic vacations if the liable person continues to hold the freehold or leasehold interest and intends to return after the vacation. Occupation by student nurses does not qualify for the exemption but occupation by students of university or higher education nursing courses does.

UK armed forces accommodation

The accommodation includes barracks and other property, no matter where located, used for purpose of armed forces accommodation and owned by Secretary of State for Defence.

Members and dependants of visiting forces

The liable person is a member or dependant of a visiting force to which the Visiting Forces Act 1952 applies.

Occupied only by persons aged under 18 years of age

By law a person under 18 years of age cannot hold a legal interest in property and where all the residents of a dwelling are under 18 the owner would be the liable person under the 'hierarchy of liability' rules. Where an owner would be liable in these circumstances the dwelling is prescribed to be exempt.

Occupied only by the severely mentally impaired

A dwelling will be exempt whilst the only residents are persons who are severely mentally impaired and would, but for the exemption, be liable for Council Tax.

A person with a diplomatic or other immunity

The dwelling is occupied by at least one person who is a diplomat or has diplomatic immunity.

Occupied Annexe

An annexe is defined as a part of a larger property that includes a main dwelling. The exemption will be valid whilst a dependant relative of the liable person of the main dwelling occupies the annexe.