Unoccupied property

Properties which have no permanent residents are classed as unoccupied properties.  

The amount of relief that may be applied will be based on a variety of factors as set out in legislation, and include:

  • how long the property has been unoccupied
  • if there is any work being undertaken to make the property habitable, ie it is undergoing structural repair, improvement or reconstruction (the property must be unfit to be lived in due to structural work)
  • whether the property is furnished or unfurnished

This may mean you are only entitled to a portion of the discount or exemption if part has already been claimed by the previous liable party. To be considered unfurnished, the property must be empty of all movable items. White goods, curtains, blinds, carpets and built in wardrobes are not considered to be removable items.

The level of relief may also be dependant on whether any of the criteria listed below is met:

The property

  • is on agricultural land and the last time it was occupied, it was used in connection with that land
  • was last occupied by students and they left less than four months ago
  • is owned by a student who's sole or main residence is elsewhere
  • has been repossessed
  • can't be occupied due to prohibition by law
  • is a new build property and no more than 6 months has elapsed since first entry to valuation list
  • is held by or behalf of a religious body

or if the liable party

  • is receiving care elsewhere
  • is giving care elsewhere
  • is living in a hospital, nursing home or residential care
  • is in prison
  • is declared bankrupt
  • has died and grant of confirmation has not been made

How to apply

You can apply online for a discount or exemption if you meet the criteria above. If you need any assistance, contact our Customer Advice and Support Service.

Additional empty property reductions

Reductions are also available for unoccupied properties where:

  • it forms part of premises and is difficult to let separately
  • it is situated within the grounds of another dwelling and is difficult to let separately
  • it is owned or tenanted by a charity
  • it is owned by a registered social landlord with the view to having it demolished
  • it is held by a housing association as a 'Trial Flat'
  • an Armed Forces Personnel is residing in Army accommodation and as a result the property is unoccupied

To apply for a discount or exemption based on this criteria, download and complete the unoccupied property form and return to your local contact centre or alternatively if you need any assistance, contact our Customer Advice and Support Service.

How to cancel your discount or exemption

Find out how to notify us of a change of circumstances

How do I notify you of potential Council Tax fraud?

You can report this online. If you need any assistance, contact our Customer Advice and Support Service.

Long term empty properties

If Long Term Empty levy has been applied to your bill, your can find more information on Long Term Empty properties and the purpose of the levy.

Apply for a discount or exemption for an unoccupied property Download - Council Tax Unoccupied Property Exemption Form

Customer Advice and Support Service

Address: Council Headquarters
Newtown St. Boswells

Telephone: 0300 100 1800