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Unoccupied properties discount

The discounts and premiums described below have been determined by Somerset West and Taunton under local discretionary powers contained within Council Tax legislation.

From 1 April 2023 Somerset West and Taunton Council will combine with Somerset County Council and the other District Councils in Somerset (Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and South Somerset District Council) to create the new Somerset Council.

In preparation for the councils merging, Somerset County Council have made decisions about the discretionary discounts and premiums for the new Somerset Council effective from 1 April 2023 onwards. Details of the future discounts and premiums can be viewed on the Somerset County Council website.

Unoccupied properties

If you own a property where nobody lives, we will count it as unoccupied. In some cases, we can reduce the council tax bill for that property.

We don’t count a property as unoccupied if the owner or tenant is away from home for a short time - on holiday, on business or in hospital – and they plan to return.

Second homes

We mean a furnished property that is not anyone’s main home. Second homes don’t get a discount. The full charge applies. Second homes that are caravans, boats or job-related properties may get a 50% discount.

Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished properties 

We mean a property, including empty properties, with no kitchen equipment, beds or furniture. We can give a 100% discount for three months from when the property first becomes unoccupied and unfurnished. The discount is awarded to the property from the date it becomes unoccupied and unfurnished, if it was empty when you purchased it you will only be given whatever is remaining of the three month discount. After three months, a full charge will apply.

Empty property premium

Properties that have been empty for more than two years will have to pay an empty property premium, charged at 100%. This means owners of these properties will have to pay 200% of the normal council tax charge.

From 1 April 2020 a premium of 200% will be added for properties kept empty for between 5 and 10 years and from 1 April 2021 300% will be applied for properties continuously empty for more than 10 years.

The aim of the premium is to reduce the number of long-term empty homes in our area so we can get as many as possible back into use for local people.

Derelict properties

Your property is classed as derelict if it:

  • isn’t possible to live in it, for example because it’s been damaged by weather, rot or vandalism
  • would need major structural works to make it ‘wind and watertight’ again

You can apply to get a derelict property removed from the council tax valuation list. Follow the process for making a formal challenge on the Valuation Office Agency website.

The person responsible for paying council tax must complete the below discount/exemption claim form if they want to apply.