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Council tax on an empty property

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Hi everyone - I've been away for a long while - used to frequent the Debt section quite a bit.


I'm not after help right now but please feel free to add any comments you may have on this thread as it goes along. I'm half expecting things to turn nasty down the line :-(


Okay, briefly....


My parents died within 6 months of each other in 2006, I'm an only child so got their house. At the time this seemed like a bonus - how wrong I was! :| Beware anyone who finds themselves in a similar position. OH hasn't done any paid work for 5 or more years (had depression and work-related stress), we have three kids at home, I work full-time for £18k a year. We get child tax credit, no working tax credit so have to pay for the meds we have every month. We have tried over the years to get the usual employment-related benefits - not entitled because we own the second (empty) house.


So, not only is this house costing us in utilities (not a massive amount admittedly) we can't get anything because it's counted as savings.


Right, in comes another player in this scene - the local council. We pay full council tax on the property we live in because (yes, you've got it) we own a second house and are therefore not entitled to council tax benefit. Now they're pestering us for the council tax on the second house. I'm not sure how much they want yet but here's what I plan to do:


Write to the council covering the area of my parents' property and tell them....


(a) the property has been empty (unfurnished) for the time since my mum's death. I think we may be able to claim 12 months for nothing as we were renovating it (still are).

(b) we are actually paying full council tax (to another council) on the property we occupy

© ask them to defer claiming what they are due from us until the property is sold - it's been on the market for 3 years


If anyone thinks of anything else I can add let me know and I'll keep you informed as to what the council say.



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a) If you are doing renovations that render the place inhabitable then yes, you will possibly be eligible for a Class A exemption. You'd have to provide details of the works being done, often including plans and photos as evidence. You may also have a council tax visitor come out to inspect the place, just to make sure that everything you've put on your application is correct. As the place was unoccupied and unfurnished since you took it over you may also be able to get a Class C exemption for up to 6 months during that period.


b) You shouldn't be paying full council tax on both properties. You get a 10% discount (mega bucks, that is!) for the property which is your second home. You'll need to provide the council with a copy of your council tax bill for your main residence.


c) Doubtful that they'll accept this but worth asking anyway.


I think everything you brought up is all that is relevant, so I don't have anything further to add now!


ETA: if any discounts/exemptions get applied to your account and you end up with a credit you can either leave that on your account to be taken off any money which may be due in the future, or you can ask for the council to refund it to you (which, given your current financial situation, might be preferrable).

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