From April 2013 each Local Authority in England can decide what level of Council Tax discount to award in respect of empty properties. St Albans City and District Council have made the decision to award no discounts in respect of 2nd homes or empty and unfurnished properties. This means you will still pay the full Council Tax for a property even if it is not occupied, unless an exemption applies.
However, if a property is unoccupied because it is undergoing major structural repairs or alteration you may still qualify for a 50% reduction in the Council Tax for a maximum period of 6 months. We call this a Class D reduction. Guidance on what sort of work will qualify for this reduction is available here.
To apply for this reduction please visit https://stalbans.force.com/mysadc/s/login/ and the section entitled ‘Council Tax Forms’. Please be aware that in most cases we will need to see evidence of the work which is being carried out, such as photos and a schedule of works from your builder.
If a property has been empty and unfurnished for a long period of time, Local Authorities are able to charge a Council Tax ‘premium’. From April 2019 St Albans City and District Council made the decision to charge a 100% premium on properties which have been empty for more than 2 years. From April 2020 we will also charge a 200% Council Tax premium on properties which have been empty for more than 5 years.
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 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be aware that a change in ownership does not stop this premium from applying. Therefore, if you buy a property which has been empty for some time and do not move into it immediately, you may find yourself paying more Council Tax than you anticipated.