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Council tax reductions

Information about council tax discounts, eligibility criteria, disregarded persons, and reductions and premiums for empty properties.

Premium for long-term empty properties

Councils were first given powers by central government in 2013 to charge extra council tax on properties that had been empty for more than two years. It was up to each council to set their own policy, but the maximum premium charge that could be levied at that time was 50%.

Therefore from 1 April 2013, a property empty for over two years or more paid 150% of the full council tax charge.

Under new legislation, effective from 1 April 2019, central government has given councils additional powers to increase this premium further.

This legislation allows for the following:

  • 1 April 2019: Levy a 100% premium on properties empty for at least 2 years
  • 1 April 2020: Levy a 200% premium on properties empty for at least 5 years
  • 1 April 2021: Levy a 300% premium on properties empty for at least 10 years
Council tax empty property charges by period in the Lancaster district from 1 April 2019 onwards
  1st month 2 – 24 months 24 months + 5 years + 10 years +
1 April 2019 0% 100% 200% 200% 200%
1 April 2020 0% 100% 200% 300% 300%
1 April 2021 0% 100% 200% 300% 400%

At a meeting held on 19 December 2018, the council made the decision to implement the additional premium charges allowed under the new legislation in full.

Why has this been done?

Both central government and the council are keen to ensure that long-term empty properties are brought back into use.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. Empty annexes and properties left empty by service personnel are excluded by legislation. The council cannot charge a premium on these or include them in any policy.

Additionally, from 1 April 2019, we have agreed an exceptions policy for certain circumstances:

Can I make a formal complaint if I am charged a premium?

As the charge is council policy allowed under regulations, it cannot be accepted as grounds for a complaint under our complaints policy.

You can however submit an application for exception if you feel your circumstances fit the criteria.

Can I submit an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal against the premium?

The Valuation Tribunal determined in April 2014 that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear appeals regarding premiums.

They are excluded by virtue of Section 66 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. The only option available to challenge is to apply for judicial review in the High Court.

Last updated: 11 August 2023

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