Unoccupied property exemptions

Circumstances where an unoccupied property may qualify for an exemption.

In certain circumstances, some unoccupied properties are exempt from the Council Tax charge including those properties left unoccupied by someone who now lives elsewhere to receive care, is resident in a care home or is detained in prison.

Some Council Tax exemptions can only be applied for a limited period of time whereas others are unlimited providing the conditions of the exemption are met.

You can find more information about these Council Tax exemptions and how to make an application in the sections below.

Annexes - Class T

Eligibility

Annexes are exempt from the Council Tax charge if they are unoccupied and remain ancillary to the main dwelling. This means that the annexe is subject to a planning restriction preventing it from being sold or let independently of the main dwelling. Occupancy of these annexes are usually restricted to family members only.

For the purposes of Council Tax an annexe is defined as a dwelling which forms part of a single property which includes another dwelling and which may not be let separately from that other dwelling without a breach of planning controls.

The exemption can only be applied for the period that the annexe remains unoccupied and only while the planning restriction applies. If you are granted a certificate of lawfulness or successfully apply to have any ancillary conditions to be removed, you will no longer be eligible for the exemption.

How to apply

If your unoccupied annexe meets the criteria listed above, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out your circumstances and we will be in touch with further advice. Please provide your name, address and contact details.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Charitable organisations - Class B

Eligibility

Unoccupied properties that are owned by a charity are exempt for up to 6 months, providing that the property was occupied in connection with the charitable aims of the organisation when last occupied.

This exemption can be applied for a period of up to six months only. Should the property remain unoccupied when the exemption ends, a pro-rata full Council Tax charge is due.

How to apply

If you are a charitable organisation and your unoccupied property meets the criteria listed above above, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out your circumstances and we will be in touch with further advice. Please provide the address of the property concerned, your name and contact details.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Full-time students - Class N

Eligibility

Where a student is the owner of an unoccupied dwelling, the property is exempt from the Council Tax charge provided that it was their sole or main residence when it was last occupied.

The exemption applies while the property remains unoccupied and only for the period that the absent person remains to be a student.

Full-time Students

For the purposes of Council Tax, a person is a full-time student if they are undertaking a full-time course at a prescribed educational establishment. The course must be at least one academic year or one calendar year in duration. The associated periods of tuition, study or work experience must total at least 24 weeks in each academic year which taken together amount to an average of at least 21 hours.

How to apply

If you are undertaking a course that meets the criteria above, you may be eligible for a Council Tax exemption. You can complete our online application form and will need to attach a certificate from your educational establishment. The student certificate must include the student's full name, date of birth along with the mode of study and duration of the course.

Apply for a full time students exemption

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Receiving care in a care home - Class E

Eligibility

An unoccupied property is exempt form the Council Tax charge if the person who would otherwise be liable for the charge has their sole or main residence in a residential care home, nursing home, hospital or hostel in which they are receiving care or treatment.

The property can be exempt whether it is furnished or unfurnished, and will qualify for the exemption as long as the person whose name appears on the bill resides in a residential care.

How to apply

To apply for this exemption please complete our online application form. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Apply for receiving care in a care home exception

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Receiving care - Class I

Eligibility

A property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if it is unoccupied and the person who would otherwise be liable for the charge resides elsewhere to receive care.

The person being cared for must require care for one of the following reasons:

  • Old age
  • Disablement
  • Illness
  • Past or present alcohol or drug dependence
  • Past or present mental disorder

The unoccupied property must have been their sole or main residence at the time they left to receive care elsewhere.

The exemption can be applied for the period that the property remains unoccupied and only while the care and requirement for care applies.

How to apply

If the person who is liable to pay Council Tax on an unoccupied property meets the circumstances listed above, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out their circumstances and provide contact details. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Providing care - Class J

Eligibility

A property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if it is unoccupied and the person who would otherwise be liable for the charge resides elsewhere to provide care.

The person being cared for must require care for one of the following reasons:

  • Old age
  • Disablement
  • Illness
  • Past or present alcohol or drug dependence
  • Past or present mental disorder

The unoccupied property must have been the carer's sole or main residence at the time they left to provide care elsewhere. They do not need to be living with the person receiving care but do need to have moved to a property from where they can better provide that care.

The exemption can be applied for the period that the property remains unoccupied and only while the care and requirement for care applies.

How to apply

If the person who is liable to pay Council Tax on an unoccupied property meets the circumstances listed above, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out their circumstances and provide contact details. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Mortgagee in possession - Class L

Eligibility

A property is exempt form the Council Tax charge if the owner who would otherwise be liable for the charge is a mortgagor subject to a repossession.

The mortgagee is the organisation who provided a loan, usually a bank or building society and the mortgage deed usually enables the mortgagee to take possession of the property if there is default on the loan.

If a property is unoccupied because the mortgagee has taken possession under the mortgage, the mortgagor is still named on the Council Tax bill but is exempt from Council Tax.

The exemption continues until the possession is relinquished or until the property is sold when new owners will become liable for the Council Tax charge.

How to apply

If the mortgagee is in possession of an unoccupied property, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out your circumstances and provide contact details. Please also provide a copy of the court order which includes the date of possession. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Persons in detention - Class D

Eligibility

A property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if the person who would otherwise be liable for the charge is:

  • detained in a prison, a hospital or any other place under a court order;
  • or detained under immigration controls;
  • or detained under the mental health acts;
  • or a member of the armed forces detained in accordance with armed forces legislation.

If a person is detained for non-payment of Council Tax or non-payment of a fine related to Council Tax, the exemption is not applicable.

The exemption can be applied for the period while the person who is liable for Council Tax is detained and only while the property remains unoccupied.

How to apply

To apply for this exemption because the person who would normally be liable for the Council Tax charge has been detained in prison, please complete our online application form. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Apply for person in detention exemption

If a person is being detained under any of the other circumstances listed above, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out your circumstances and we will be in touch with further advice.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Awaiting probate - Class F

Eligibility

A property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if it is unoccupied because the person who would otherwise be liable for the charge has died.

If the property has been unoccupied since the date of death, the exemption will continue until probate is granted. Providing the property remains unoccupied and in the hands of the estate, the exemption will continue for six months after the date of grant.

The exemption ends six months after the date of grant and if the property remains unoccupied, the full Council Tax charge is due. If, the property remains in the hands of the estate when the exemption ends, the executor is responsible for paying the Council Tax. If the executor cannot make payment they must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council immediately.

Should the property become occupied at any time, the occupier will be held liable for the Council Tax charge and no further Class F exemption can be awarded.

If ownership passes to beneficiaries, the beneficiaries will be come liable for the Council Tax charge.

It is important that the executors provide the Council Tax team with the date of grant of probate and details of any occupation, sale or letting of the property.

How to apply

To apply for a Council Tax exemption on a property that is unoccupied because the person who would otherwise be liable for the charge has died, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out the circumstances and provide contact details. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Prohibited by law - Class G

Eligibility

An unoccupied property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if occupation is prohibited by law.

For the purposes of this exemption, occupation of the property must be:

  • Restricted by a planning condition that prevents occupancy under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; or
  • Prohibited by law; or
  • Being kept unoccupied by reason of action taken to prohibit occupation, or with a view to acquiring it, under powers conferred by any Act of Parliament.

The exemption applies for the period while occupation is prohibited by law.

How to apply

To apply for a Council Tax exemption because occupation of the property is prohibited by law, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out the circumstances and provide contact details. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Minister of religion - Class H

Eligibility

An unoccupied property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if it is being held empty and awaiting occupation by a minister of religion. It must be a residence from which they will perform the duties of their office.

The exemption applies to a property being held for a minister of any religious denomination and for as long as it remains unoccupied awaiting occupation by a minister of religion.

How to apply

To apply for a Council Tax exemption on an unoccupied property being held empty and awaiting occupation by a minister of religion, please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out the circumstances and provide contact details. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.

Trustee  in bankruptcy - Class Q

Eligibility

An unoccupied property is exempt from the Council Tax charge if it the person who would otherwise be liable for the Council Tax is a trustee in bankruptcy.

The exemption applies whether the unoccupied dwelling is furnished or not, and whether or not the trustee is jointly liable with any other person.

The exemption applies while the trustee in bankruptcy, providing the property remains unoccupied.

How to apply

To apply for a Council Tax exemption on an unoccupied property it the person who would otherwise be liable for the Council Tax is a trustee in bankruptcy., please email the Council Tax team at revenues@uttlesford.gov.uk setting out the circumstances and provide contact details. We will be in touch if we need any further information.

Penalty

If your Council Tax bill indicates that a discount has been granted and you think it is incorrect, you must contact the Council Tax team at Uttlesford District Council within 21 days of when the bill was issued to tell them. You must also tell us about any change of circumstances that may affect your eligibility to claim the discount within 21 days of the change. If you fail to do so, you may be issued with a penalty of £70.