Council Tax for Vacant Property

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    Council Tax for Vacant Property

    In the Autumn Budget ( 22 Nov 2017) it was announced on BBC website : "Councils given powers to charge 100% council tax premium on empty properties"

    Some local councils give 25 % discount for one resident and 50% discount for 3 months if without furniture.

    Does the 100% premium mean "double normal rate" charged for council tax on empty property ?

    The word "premium rate" suggest higher than "normal rate"

    #2
    Good question Gordon. It doesn't look like the government has thought this through and has left it to each Council to decide the details - which is dangerous as they will most likely use it to increase revenue, rather than provide more housing. Other questions are raised, including:
    - how long does it have to be empty for? Will landlords have to pay extra CTax for short voids between tenants?
    - will it apply to property being renovated? If so, it could yet again penalise owners who try to improve our housing stock.

    Comment


      #3
      It sounds like it will be up to each council to decide - as always, the devil's in the (not yet available) details.

      The main driver seems to be to raise revenue from the large numbers of empty properties in London, where they've been bought as investments/money dumps by overseas investments.

      Not that local authorities will see that as an obstacle to make more money.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        I am currently enjoying 100% relief on a refurb as it is uninhabitable in its current condition, major works almost completed. that's a lot different than leaving a property empty. I think common sense will prevail in interpreting the govts fudged attempts. if someone leaves it empty as business decision, then they are running a business and business costs should be paid, even in the form of council tax!

        Comment


          #5
          There seems to be a lot of confusion caused by the Chancellor's announcement.

          The 100% figure is no more than an adjustment to the current empty property premium which is applied to domestic property in England. A local authority can currently apply an increase of up to 50% after a property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 2 years or more - the current plan involves increasing the 50% allowed to (up to) 100%. There have been no further changes announced to any other Council Tax rules or any changes to the qualifying criteria (these qualifying conditions are not a delegated power to change.).

          The new increase is likely to start from 1 April (the rate change has to publicly announced prior to being implemented) so any property already under a premium on that date will have the new rate applied - I'd be very surprised if a council doesn't take the opportunity to apply the increase.
          Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

          If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.

          Comment


            #6
            If last tenant has departed and next tenant not yet found , wouldn't the property owner register himself as occupier and claim the 25% discount?

            Comment


              #7
              Gordon999,

              That would be fraud unless there was actual occupation by the landlord as his 'sole or main residence'.
              Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

              If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.

              Comment


                #8
                Some councils have a declared policy on priority for paying council tax namely : 1. occupant 2. property owner when unoccupied. 3. forget who ( for those in jail ?)

                I have never heard of any cases of property owner being charged for fraud when registering himself for council tax on his own property.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                  Some councils have a declared policy on priority for paying council tax namely : 1. occupant 2. property owner when unoccupied. 3. forget who ( for those in jail ?)
                  Council's don't have a 'policy' on who to charge, it's a legislative requirement - the liability for council tax is set out (primarily) in section 6 of the LGFA 1992, the local authority has no delegated powers to determine liability other than as specified in legislation.

                  Originally posted by Gordon999 View Post
                  I have never heard of any cases of property owner being charged for fraud when registering himself for council tax on his own property.
                  No, but they do if they try to claim they are resident to get the 25% discount as you suggested. To get the 25% discount, the 'single person discount', a person has to occupy the property as their 'sole or main residence'. A landlord can't just claim the 25% discount on a property because it's empty, he'd need to live in the property as his 'sole or main residence' - a 'temporary' occupation wouldm't cut it for discount purposes. More and more councils are taking action against people who claim discounts they aren't entitled to.
                  Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

                  If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    MisterB,

                    I once applied for CT relief on the grounds of a refurb being currently uninhabitable. The man from the council came to inspect my property and wouldn't enter as their were no floorboards downstairs and a 3ft drop to the subsoil. My application was rejected on the grounds that the property was unsafe to inspect!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You should have appealed to the council and then, if no reply, to the tribunal. It's very unlikely you'd not have won at tribunal.
                      Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

                      If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.

                      Comment

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