Leeds City Council
  • A to Z
  • Newsroom
  • Contact us
  • Accessibility
  • A- A+

Exemptions for unoccupied properties

A property is exempt from Council tax if it is unoccupied because:

  • the liable person is staying long-term in a care home, hostel or hospital. (If the person is a tenant, the exemption will stop at the end of the tenancy. If the person is the owner, it must have been their main residence to qualify for the exemption);
  • the person who last lived there, who is still the owner or tenant, has moved to another address to be cared for (Exemption I);
  • the person who last lived there, who is still the owner or tenant, has moved to another address to care for someone who is elderly, ill or disabled (Exemption J);
  • the person who last lived there, who would normally be liable, is now a student living somewhere else;
  • the mortgagee has repossessed it;
  • the liable person is in prison;
  • the law says nobody is allowed to live in it;
  • it is being kept vacant for a religious minister to move into;
  • it is the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy;
  • it is an empty caravan pitch or mooring;
  • it is owned and last occupied by a registered charity (applies for a maximum period of 6 months);
  • it is a domestic property which is part of another domestic property and cannot be rented out separately (for example, an unoccupied 'granny flat');
  • the liable person has died and the property meets certain conditions - please see the document 'Property unoccupied after a death' in the Documents section for more information on this, as the exemption does not apply to all properties that are unoccupied after a death.

How to claim an exemption
There are claim forms for some of these exemptions in the Documents section; where no form is available, please contact us giving full details of the property and explaining which exemption you think applies.

Why is there no exemption for an empty property?
Council Tax law changed, so from 1 April 2013 former exemptions class A (property needing/undergoing repair) and class C (unoccupied and unfurnished) no longer exist.  For 2013/14, there is no discount for properties in Leeds in either of those circumstances so the full amount of Council Tax is payable. (However an Exemption A claim form is still available to download, in case you wish to apply for that exemption for a period before 1 April 2013.)

With effect from 1 April 2014, a discount of 100% can be granted for a property which is unoccupied and unfurnished for a period of 7 days or less, so no Council Tax is payable for them. However if the property is empty for over 7 days, no discount can be allowed, so full Council Tax is payable from the date the property first became unoccupied and unfurnished.

Please note: you can still get a bill for unoccupied charges for less than 7 days if the total unoccupied period is more than 7 days but you are not the liable person for the whole of the unoccupied period. For example, if a tenant takes on a tenancy of a property that has been unoccupied for 4 days before their tenancy starts, and then doesn't move in for 4 days, the total unoccupied period at the property is more than 7 days so no discount applies, and the new tenant is liable for unoccupied charges for the 4 days before they move in.  

There is no right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal about the Council’s decisions relating to empty properties.

Property in a poor state of repair or undergoing refurbishment or structural alterations
If you have a property which is in a poor state of repair, or undergoing substantial refurbishment work or structural alterations, the Council will have to charge you for it unless the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) deletes it from the Council Tax list.  However the VOA will only do this if it is derelict and uninhabitable, or if the work is substantial and the property is being rebuilt or structurally altered.  The VOA has produced a factsheet on this - use the link under External links to view this factsheet.

Why aren't empty properties exempt from Council Tax?

Council Tax law has changed and the old exemption for an empty property has been abolished from 1 April 2013. Councils can decide whether to give a discount for empty properties and Leeds City Council decided not to give any discount.

Why has the Council decided to give no discount for empty properties?

The decision was made to encourage the owners of empty properties to bring them back into use as quickly as possible. It also recognises the financial difficulties the council faces in the coming year.

Can I appeal against Leeds City Council's decision not to give a discount for empty properties?

​No - the council is allowed by law to decide whether or not to give a discount for empty properties and you cannot appeal to the Valuation Tribunal about that decision. 

Why must I pay full Council Tax for an empty property when a sole occupier gets a 25% discount?

The 25% 'Single person discount' only applies to a property occupied by just one person. From 01.04.131 April 2013, councils can decide whether empty properties should get a discount and Leeds has decided not to give any discount for empty properties.​