Toggle menu

Council Tax Local Empty Property Discounts and Premiums Policy

Why not sign up today for paperless Council Tax bills! Did you know it costs us around 50p to send a bill through the post? You can make your life easier, save paper and save us money by signing up to paperless bills. It's easy to sign up and only takes a few minutes.


This policy sets out the council's local council tax discounts and premiums scheme for empty properties and second homes. This policy will help us to be consistent when making our decisions. 

This policy also sets out circumstances under which we may consider making an exception. 

This policy is effective from 1 April 2024. 

Empty property discounts and exemptions that are prescribed by legislation are not included in this policy. A full list of available exemptions can be found Council Tax discounts and exemptions


From April 2013, the Local Government Finance Act 2012 has allowed local authorities greater discretion over the level of discounts and premiums that could be charged for certain empty homes. 

From April 2019, the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 has allowed local authorities to charge higher council tax premiums on homes that have been empty and unfurnished for more than 2 years. 

The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 allows local authorities discretion to amend the definition of long-term empty homes to dwellings unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year from 1 April 2024. The Act also allows local authorities to charge a council tax premium of up to 100% for second homes from 1 April 2025. 


The purpose of the policy is to maximise the incentive for owners of long-term empty homes and second homes to bring their properties back into use. It also supports work being undertaken by the council to reduce the number of long-term empty properties and make better use of the existing housing in the borough. 

The policy sets out the factors the council will consider when applying discounts or premiums to empty properties and second homes and when considering whether an exception may made.   

The policy will be applied in line with relevant legislation and guidance. 

This policy helps the council to be fair and consistent in its approach. 

Amount of Discount or Premium

The amounts of local discounts or premiums which apply to empty properties and second homes are set out in Appendix 1. 

Duration of Discount or Premium

Any local discount or premium will be awarded for a period as shown in Appendix 1. 

We may consider granting an exception and waiving the council tax premium where there is genuine evidence that the property is:   

  • being actively marketed for sale or let (time limited up to 6 months) 

  • undergoing major repairs (time limited up to 6 months) 

  • undergoing probate (time limited to up to 12 months) 

  • a second home such as boat moorings and job-related home 

  • an annexe which is a second home and forms part of, or being treated as part of, the main dwelling 

  • subject to legal, technical, or complex planning issues 

  • a seasonal home where year-round or permanent occupation is prohibited or has been specified for use as holiday accommodation or prevents occupancy as a person's sole or main residence 

The council's Discretionary Reductions Policy will also be considered in cases where there is exceptional hardship because of the council tax premium. 

Considering an exception

When deciding whether to allow an exception to a premium we will consider each case on its own merits. These are some of the things we will consider: 

  • What professional advice you have taken 

  • Any offers of purchase or rent that you may have received 

  • Whether a sale price or rental is realistic 

  • Any exceptional or unforeseen circumstance or legal difficulties 

  • Additional help that may be available to you including under another council policy such as the Fair Collection Charter or the Discretionary Reductions Policy 

Period of an exception

If the exception is not time limited, we will decide the period of any exception based on individual cases and the evidence provided. 

We will regularly review the decision and ask for confirmation that your circumstances have not changed. 

Changes of circumstances

You must tell us about any change in circumstances that could affect a discount or premium or any exception. If you do not do this promptly a fine may be issued.


You can appeal against the decision if an application for discount is refused, or a premium is disputed. You should appeal in writing to give the reasons why you disagree with our decision.    

Appeals will be considered by the council's Revenues Manager. We will let you know the outcome within two months. 

If you are still unhappy with the decision you can appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal Service. You must do this within two months of the council's decision or  4 months of you first writing to us (if you have not received a response) Details of how to appeal can be found at Appeal Guidance Booklets - Valuation Tribunal Service

There are no formal rights of appeal regarding a decision on granting an exception to a premium. However, you can ask for a review of the decision relating to an exception.  

You should make the request for a review in writing within four weeks of our original decision and give the reasons why you are asking for the review.   

Reviews about exception decisions will be considered by the council's Head of Customer Services. We will let you know the outcome within two months


The council must take reasonable steps to make sure that discounts and premiums have been awarded correctly. From time to time the council may carry out a review either by writing to you or by visiting the property. 

Fraudulent applications

The council must take reasonable steps to make sure that discounts and premiums have been awarded correctly. From time to time the council may carry out a review either by writing to you or by visiting the property. 

Free independent help

For free debt and money advice contact:

a.    Citizens Advice Lancashire      


Chorley office


35-39 Market Street




South Ribble office


Civic Centre

West Paddock


PR25 1DH


Telephone: 0344 245 1294

Website: Citizens Advice Lancashire

b. StepChange

Telephone: 0800 138 1111

Website: StepChange

c. National Debt Line

Telephone: 0808 808 4000

Website: National Debt Line


d. Business Debt Line

Telephone: 0800 197 6026

Website: Business Debt Line


Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email