Council tax 100% exemption question

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    Council tax 100% exemption question

    I regularly buy vacant property and prepare it for renting to students. Normally the students move in in September,although often they move in in Jan.

    There is typically a 2 - 4 month vacant period before renting. My standard procedure was to fire off a letter to the council tax people stating:

    "the property has been purchased on xx/xx/xxxx and will be vacant from xx/xx/xxxx to xx/xx/xxxx while renovation works are being undertaken. The property will be uninhabited and uninhabitable. As a result the property will be 100% exempt council tax for this period [it is normally under six months!]. Please update your records accordingly. I will be sending you exemption certificates in due course once the new tenants move in."

    This worked a treat for a good number of houses (6 so far). Now every house I have done this on after the initial six has ocme back saying that "as the previous owner has claimed the six month 100% vacant exemption, you are liable for 50% council tax for the first six months".

    As far as I can tell from speaking to the council this is rubbish - two council advisors have told me that I can appeal.

    Does anybody know if the 100% vacant exemption is only valid the once and if it applies to the entire life of the property or the life of the ownership. I do not mind not being able to claim it more than once (although I have, on a flat in Hertfordshire! - did not know at the time I cannot do this and it seems to have slipped through the net) but to say that if a previous owner had the exemption I cannot seems unfair.

    Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

    I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

    I understand that different councils tend to interpret the rule in different ways, however I can state that I own a couple of maisonnettes which tend to see a fair turn over in tenants and I have had no problem gaining my 100% council tax exemption. I decided to sell one - it didn't move, then the agent tried to auction it and again it didn't make it's reserve, so I decided to get another tenant for it. All in all it was vacant for 9 months. Council let me have 6 months at 100% rebate and 50% for the final three. New tenant moved in - and out six months later - because she lost her job and couldn't afford the rent. Property was vacant for over a month and I once again managed to obtain 100% council tax rebate. The property was of course unfurnished.

    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.



      I think your problem could be that the rebate is for the property not the owner, ie. if the previous owner claimed the rebate prior to you purchashing the property, and the property has not been lived in since the rebate was applied, you would only get the 50% discount.

      I could be wrong.


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