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Empty Properties

 

Unoccupied and unfurnished properties


Owners of unoccupied and unfurnished properties can apply for a 100% property discount for a period of up to three months.

This discount is used for properties which are empty awaiting sale or let or undergoing refurbishments (which are not major). After three months of the property being empty, full council tax becomes payable even if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished.

Please note if you purchase an unoccupied and unfurnished property you will only be entitled to the remainder of the three months discount.

 

Uninhabitable/major works


A property which is unoccupied, unfurnished and in need of major repairs or structural renovations to make it habitable, can receive a 100% property discount. The discount can continue for up to 6 months after the works are completed providing the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished and does not exceed 12 months. In order to apply for this discount, we will require evidence of the work required or being carried out to make the property habitable. Evidence can include photographs and/or contract invoices.

 

After the 12 months, full council tax becomes payable even if the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished.

 

Further to this, if the property is still empty after two years – there will be an extra 50% charge on the Council Tax.


Property empty for over 2 years


Once a property has been empty for over 2 years, a ‘long-term empty premium’ of 50% is applied, therefore the rate of Council Tax payable is 150%.


A long term empty premium is charged in line with the Council's policy on long-term empty properties. This is to encourage empty properties to be brought back into use. 

 

If you have a property which is in a poor state of repair, or undergoing substantial refurbishment work or structural alterations, the Council will have to charge you for it unless the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) deletes it from the Council Tax list. However the VOA will only do this if it is derelict and uninhabitable, or if the work is substantial and the property is being rebuilt or structurally altered.

 

Unoccupied but furnished properties


A property that has no occupants but is furnished is not entitled to any discount.

 

Empty properties – who is responsible for the Council Tax?

 

If there are no residents in a property, the owner is liable. ‘Owner’ in this context means a person who:

  • has a ‘material interest’ in the whole or any part of the dwelling; and
  • at least part of the dwelling or, as the case may be, of the part concerned is not subject to a material interest inferior to his interest

‘Material interest’ means a freehold interest or a leasehold interest which was granted for a term of six months or more – so sometimes, a tenant can be classed as ‘the owner’ if they have a tenancy agreement for six months or more. However, if a tenant's six-month tenancy has ended and their tenancy has become a 'rolling' periodic tenancy, they can't be held liable for any empty charges once they move out.


Please note: there is no right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal about the council’s decision not to allow a discount for empty properties in South Staffordshire.

 

Empty Property Review

 

In support of the governments initiative to tackle the shortfall in national housing, South Staffordshire Council are currently undertaking a review of empty Council Tax properties. To find out more.. Click here.

 

Contacts

 

Council Tax Enquiries                            Revenues & Benefits                                      
Telephone: (01902) 696664 South Staffordshire Council
Fax: (01902) 696630 Wolverhampton Road
Email: taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk Codsall
  South Staffordshire
  WV8 1PX

 

 

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