The following information is intended as guidance only and is not a full statement of the law.
There are various exemptions that you may be able to claim to reduce your bill. If you claim an exemption and your circumstances change you must let us know within 21 days of the change or face a penalty.
Information about the various exemption classes is show below:
A - Empty and requiring or undergoing major repairs or structural alterations
From 1 April 2013 this exemption has been abolished.
B - Unoccupied, owned by a charity
An unoccupied property owned by a charity and last used by the charity in connection with its charitable objectives. This exemption can only apply for a maximum of six months provided the charity retain ownership and the dwelling remains unoccupied.
C - Empty and unfurnished
From 1 April 2013 this exemption has been abolished.
D - Empty due to a person being in prison
An unoccupied property where the person who would be liable to council tax is in prison or some other place of detention is exempt, except where the person is in prison for non-payment of the council tax or a fine.
E - Empty due to a person having gone to live in hospital or a care home
An unoccupied property where the person who would be liable to council tax has left in order to live in a hospital, residential care home or hostel, where the person is receiving care or treatment is exempt. The exemption applies where the person has their sole or main residence in a hospital or care home etc.
F - Council Tax payer deceased
An unoccupied property is exempt if the person who was liable to council tax has died, the property has remained unoccupied since the date of death and probate has not been granted. The exemption continues for six months after the grant of probate or after the letters of administration have been made.
G - Occupation prohibited by law
A property is exempt if its occupation is forbidden by law or if it is kept unoccupied because of impending compulsory purchase.
H - Unoccupied dwelling held for a Minister of Religion
Vicarages and similar properties which are awaiting occupation by a minister of religion from where they will perform their duties.
I - Person living elsewhere to receive personal care
Properties where a person has gone to live with someone else in order to receive care. The relevant absentee must be receiving care due to old age, disablement, illness, past or present alcohol or drug dependence, or past or present mental disorder. The unoccupied property must previously have been the sole or main residence of the absent person.
J - Dwelling left empty by a person providing personal care
This exemption applies where the owner or tenant has left a property unoccupied, having changed their place of residence in order to provide care for someone else. The same conditions with regard to the reasons for the need for care apply as in Class I. The relevant absentee must have been away for this reason since they left.
K - Dwelling left empty by a student
Where a student is the owner of an unoccupied property it is exempt provided that when it was last occupied it was the sole or main residence of that student, and that no one else, other than students, lived there.
L - Unoccupied repossessed dwelling
An unoccupied property due to a mortgage lender (bank, building society or finance company) taking possession, usually because a borrower has failed to keep up mortgage repayments.
M - Halls of Residence
Halls of residence for students are exempt provided the accommodation is owned or managed by a prescribed educational establishment. The accommodation must be provided mainly for students, which does not prevent part being used to accommodate staff or other persons.
N - Dwellings occupied only by students or relevant persons
Any property which is occupied only by students and/or school or college leavers and/or student's spouse or dependant who is not a British citizen and cannot legally work or claim benefits, is exempt. Should the students, or relevant persons, leave the property unoccupied during school/college holidays the exemption will continue if the students, or relevant persons, retain the right to occupy and has the intention to use the dwelling as term time accommodation
O - Armed Forces Accommodation (UK Forces)
Living accommodation for UK armed forces which is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence is exempt whether occupied or not. This includes barracks and other accommodation on military bases, together with married quarters and any other property, wherever located, provided the accommodation is held for the purposes of forces accommodation. Contributions in lieu of council tax are payable to Local Authorities on such properties.
P - Members and Dependants of Visiting Forces
A property is exempt if at least one person who would be liable is a member (or dependant) of a visiting force and is neither a British citizen nor usually resident in the UK. A property is exempt under this category even if not all the liable persons are associated with a visiting force. For example, a property in which the liable persons are a visiting serviceman and his British wife would be exempt.
The nations whose forces are covered by the Act include:
Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Norway, St Lucia, Spain, Tonga and Turkey.
Q - Unoccupied dwelling held by a trustee in bankruptcy
Where the person who would be liable to the council tax in respect of an unoccupied property is a trustee in bankruptcy, the property is exempt. The exemption applies whether the unoccupied property is furnished or not.
R - Caravan Pitches and Boat Moorings
A caravan pitch or a boat mooring will constitute a 'dwelling' for council tax purposes if its next use is likely to be domestic. A pitch, which is not occupied by a caravan, or a mooring which is not occupied by a boat, is exempt for the whole of any period during which this situation exists
S - All Occupiers under 18
A property occupied only by a person or persons aged under 18 is exempt.
T - Unoccupied Annex
Where an unoccupied property forms part of a single property which includes another dwelling (for example an annex/granny flat) and cannot be let separately from that other dwelling without a breach of planning control. See also Class W.
U - Dwellings occupied only by Severely Mentally Impaired
This applies to properties that are only occupied by a person or persons who are severely mentally impaired as defined for the purposes of council tax discount and who are entitled to or in receipt of one of the following benefits:
• Incapacity benefit
• Employment and support allowance
• Attendance allowance
• Severe disablement allowance
• Highest or middle rate care component of disability living allowance
• An increase in disablement pension for constant attendance
• Disability element of working tax credit
• Unemployability supplement
• Constant attendance allowance payable under the industrial injuries or war pension schemes
• Unemployablilty allowance payable under the industrial injuries or war pension schemes
• Income support, which includes a disability premium because of incapacity for work
• Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - Standard and enhanced rate of the daily living component
A dwelling is also exempt if it is only occupied by:
• Severely mentally impaired person or persons
• Students or relevant persons (for the purpose of the student exemption see Class N)
You can apply for this exemption by using the Council tax severe mental impairment discount application form.
V - Occupied by a Diplomat
A property will be exempt from council tax if at least one person is either:
1. A person to whom privileges and immunities are conferred by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964; or
2. A person on whom privileges and immunities are conferred under paragraph 5 (1) Part II of the Schedule to the Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1966; or
3. A person on whom privileges and immunities are conferred by section 1 of the Consular Relations Act 1968.
And is not either:
1. A British citizen, a British dependent Territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen; or
2. A person who under British Nationality Act 1981 is a British subject; or
3. A British protected person; or
4. A permanent resident of the United Kingdom.
There must be no other property in the United Kingdom, which is the main residence of that person, or is the main residence within the United Kingdom of that person
W - Occupied by a Dependant Relative
A property that forms part of a single property which includes another dwelling (for example an annex/granny flat) where a dependant relative lives. For the purpose of Class W a relative shall be regarded as dependant if they are either:
1. Aged 65 years or more
2. Severely mentally impaired within the meaning given in paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 to the Act; or
3. Substantially and permanently disabled (whether by illness, injury, congenital deformity or otherwise)
A relative is defined as:
1. The spouse of that person; or
2. The person's parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece or is the parent or child or such a person, and
i. relationship by marriage shall be treated as a relationship by blood
ii. a relationship between a man and a woman living together as husband and wife shall be treated as a relationship by marriage
iii. a civil partnership, and
iiii. The stepchild of a person shall be treated as his child
See also Class T
Please note a change in ownership of the property does not entitle the property to a further period of exemption If you think you qualify for an exemption or need more information contact us.