Empty properties

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On 31st October 2012, the Local Government Finance Act 2012 received Royal Assent, which included the framework allowing local Council’s discretion with regard to certain types of Council Tax discounts and introducing these changes into law from 1st April 2013.

The impact of the Local Government Finance Act 2012 can be summarised as follows:

  • Councils are able to charge the full amount of Council Tax in respect of 2nd homes.
  • Abolition of the Class A Exemption (Empty properties that are subject to major repairs/structural alterations) and replace it with discount set at a level to be determined by the Council.
  • Abolition of the Class C Exemption (Empty and Unfurnished properties) and replace it with a discount set at a level to be determined by the Council.
  • Allow Councils to levy an ‘empty homes premium’ in respect of dwellings which have been left empty for two years or more (subject to certain exceptions). 

A decision was made at a meeting of the full Council on 30th January 2013 to introduce the following changes in respect of certain empty properties with effect from 1st April 2013

  • A 0% discount in respect of 2nd homes and empty furnished properties. 
  • A 0% discount in respect of empty and unfurnished properties.
  • A 50% discount for a period up to 6 months in respect of properties that are undergoing major works of repair or structural alteration (subject to an inspection and certain criteria being met).
    At a meeting of the full Council on 3rd December 2014, a decision was made to reduce the period of this discount to a maximum of 6 months


Changes to the Empty Property Premium from the 1st of April 2019


Following the introduction of the Rating (Property in Common) and the Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act of 2018, which received Royal Assent on the 1st November, Council's now have the discretion to increase the empty property premium.

At a meeting of the full Council on 20th February 2019, St Albans City and District Council decided to use the discretion it was granted under the Act and increase the level of Council Tax premium charged in respect of properties which have been empty for at least two years from 50% to 100% with effect from 1st April 2019.

In addition, from 2020/21, the Council has agreed to increase the premium for properties which have been empty for five years or more to 200% and from 2021/22, increase the premium in respect of properties that will have been empty for ten years or more to 300%.

The primary focus for this change is to bring empty homes back into use and we look to work closely with owners to try and help them to do this. If you would like more information about what help is available, please contact our Empty Property Officer at privatesectorhousing@stalbans.gov.uk

Please note liability for the empty homes premium is determined by the length of time that a property has been empty, irrespective of any change in ownership,



Date of last review: 06 March 2019