Can You Avoid The Empty Homes Premium On Council Tax?

If you are wondering whether or not you can avoid the empty homes premium on council tax, you will find the answer to your question in the following blog post. In addition to this, we will also explore circumstances under which homeowners may avail of a reduction on the empty homes premium; as well as a complete exemption in certain situations.

Can You Avoid The Empty Homes Premium On Council Tax?

Yes, you may be able to avoid the empty homes premium on council tax. This can usually be done in either of the following:

  • rent out the empty property
  • furnish the empty property and use it as a second home

If you are a homeowner who does not want to pay the empty home premium on council tax (this can range from double the amount for properties left empty for 2 years or more to five times the amount for properties left empty for more than 10 years), the ideal solution for you is to rent it out. 

In this case, the responsibility of the council tax will be that of the tenant(s) and you will also gain from the rental income.

The other option is to furnish the empty property with essentials such as a bed, wardrobe, sofas, a cooker and a fridge and use it as a second home. You can choose to stay on the property for a few weeks during the year at your convenience; whenever you can move away from your main residence. 

In this case, you will not only be able to avoid the council tax premium that applies to empty properties but will be able to avail of a 50% discount on your total council tax bill for using the place as a second home.

A third option that may sound unconventional to some is to arrange a property guardian. This is a person who lives in empty properties, pays rent to the owner and is responsible for council tax bills. However, in this case, a property guardian will not be paying the rent according to the market value; in fact, they will be paying a much-reduced amount to you. 

There are professional agencies that can connect you to registered property guardians who can take care of your empty property if you need it to remain occupied to avoid the council tax premium.

That said, council tax payments are mandatory and cannot be avoided without any repercussions. It is advisable to make sure that your council tax payments are up to date before you make either of these choices to avoid the premium rate for an empty property.

Can You Get A Reduction In The Empty Homes Premium For Council Tax?

Yes, you may be able to get a reduction in the empty homes premium for council tax. However, you may need to challenge your council tax band with evidence that supports your challenge. This can be done if you are able to provide evidence of a change in circumstances in recent times that have reduced the market value of your property due to which you believe that it should be assigned a lower council tax band.

These circumstances can be specific to the property in question such as you’ve divided the property into multiple properties or they can be pertaining to the local area such as additional construction in the surroundings. In either case, you will be required to provide the necessary evidence to support your challenge.

If you are successful in convincing your local council authorities and the Valuation Office Agency in reducing your council tax band, your council tax bill and the corresponding empty home premium that applies to it will be automatically reduced.

Can You Get An Exemption From The Empty Homes Premium For Council Tax?

Yes, in some cases, you can get an exemption from the empty homes premium for council tax. There are certain empty homes that are exempt from council tax premiums. In fact, if a property can be classified according to any of the following situations, the owner does not have to pay any amount of council tax at all:

  • the owner is in the Armed Forces and stationed elsewhere
  • the owner is living somewhere else as a carer
  • the owner is in prison (this does not apply it is for not paying a fine or council tax)
  • the owner has moved into a care home or hospital
  • the owner has passed away and the property is in the process of being sold
  • the property has been repossessed
  • the property is declared as being derelict
  • the property has been purchased and will be demolished
  • property that is classified as an annexe
  • property owned and last used by a registered charity
  • property under the responsibility of a trustee following bankruptcy
  • property being held empty for use by a minister of religion
  • property being refurbished for major structural changes


The above discussion helps to conclude that the only possible way to avoid the empty homes premium is by bringing your property into use. This can either be done by using it as a second home for yourself, renting it out or arranging a property guardian.


Landlord guides: What is an empty home premium?

How Council Tax works: Second homes and empty properties – GOV.UK

How To Avoid Paying Council Tax On An Empty Property | PPO