Council tax - empty properties

Council tax enquiries

Double Council Tax charge for long term unoccupied properties starting 1 April 2014

If your property is lived in for at least 25 days in the last 12 months, then it is classed as a second home for council tax purposes.  If it is used for less than 25 days in any rolling 12 month period, then it is regarded as an unoccupied property.

With effect from 1 April 2014, properties that have been unoccupied for a period of two years or more will not be entitled to any discount of council tax and instead will be subject to an increase to their council tax charge by 100%.  Properties unoccupied for less than two years but more than one year will also be subject to the double council tax unless they are being actively marketed for sale or let at appropriate conditions. 

Application form - Council Tax discount - Property marketed for sale

These changes do not apply to purpose built holiday homes incapable of habitation throughout the year or job-related properties.

With effect from 1 April 2015, properties that have been unoccupied for a period of two years or more will not be entitled to any discount of council tax and instead will be subject to an increase to their council tax charge by 100%.  Properties unoccupied for less than two years but more than one year will also be subject to the double council tax unless they are undergoing major repairs. This will only apply whilst these works are being actively carried out and provided that building warrants and planning permission where necessary have been obtained and there is a schedule of works.  Also, if you have recently purchased a property which has been unoccupied for a considerable period of time prior to your purchase and you are intending carrying out major repairs to the property, you will be eligible for a 50% discount for 6 months from date of purchase. After the 50% discount has expired, a 10% discount may be applicable for a further 6 months if the property is still undergoing repair.

Application forms

These changes were agreed at the council meeting of 8 August 2013 using the new powers introduced under The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 (SSI 2013/45). These changes are being made to provide an incentive to bring empty properties back into use.  If this applies to you, the council’s empty homes officer can provide a range of help to you.