Council Tax on Empty Homes Set to Double

Date Published 22 March 2024

As of April 1st, council tax will double on empty homes in England. This is to support local people in areas where high numbers of empty homes are preventing them from finding affordable housing. Changes brought in by the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 reduces the time before a property is considered an empty home from two years to one year, meaning that homes that has been empty for one year will be subject to a 100% council tax premium. The earliest that a council can utilise the second homes premium is April 2025.

However, there are some exemptions for this to avoid the council tax premium. Any properties undergoing major repairs or structural alterations will have a 12-month exception from the empty homes' premium rather than the 6-month exception proposed in the initial consultation on the issue.​ Also, properties being actively marketed for sale or let will have a 12-month exception from the empty homes' premium. This will provide protections for Landlords whose rental property may become empty in between lets or have a gap between tenancy agreements. Finally, the last exemption will be any inherited properties will have a 12-month exception after probate or letters of administration have been granted. Where there are cases that merit a longer exception period, or a high level of discount, councils can continue to exercise their discretion.

A spokesperson for Dorset's council says: 'The proposal to introduce council tax premiums on second homes and empty properties has been discussed in Dorset for several years. Now that the government's Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has been passed and received Royal Assent, we will implement the changes and additional premiums in 2024 and 2025. The council agreed to use 40 per cent of the additional monies raised to support the delivery of affordable housing. These new powers will provide much needed additional funds to help the council continue our track record of protecting vital frontline services on which Dorset residents rely.'