Second homes and long term empty property charges

Second home charges

After 1 April 2024

Currently West Lindsey District Council charges a 90% council tax charge for furnished second homes however at our meeting on 22 January 2024 we decided to increase this charge. Meaning that from 1 April 2024 the amount of Council Tax payable in respect of furnished second homes will increase from 90% charge to 100% charge.  This is in line with empty and unfurnished properties.

Long term empty property charges

Before 2024

An additional amount of council tax (a premium) is required to be paid when a property has been empty for at least two years. This was originally set at the maximum 50% premium, meaning that if your property had been empty for at least two years, you would have to pay the whole Council Tax bill, plus half on top again (for example a 150% charge).

In accordance with new legislation, from 1 April 2019 this was increased from 50% to 100% making the charge 200%.

After 1 April 2024

New legislation was introduced in April 2020 by the government enabling local authorities to increase the amount of this premium for properties that have been empty for over 5 years. The reason for this premium is to encourage owners of empty properties to bring their properties back into use.

At our meeting on 22 January 2024 we decided to exercise this power and this means that from 1 April 2024 the amount of Council Tax payable in respect of empty properties will increase in accordance with the following table:

Council Tax changes for Empty Properties
Empty Property Period Premium Charge from 2023-2024 financial year Premium Charge from 2024-2025 financial year Actual Council Tax Charge
2 years to 5 years 100% 100% 200%
5 years to 10 years 100% 200% 300%
Over 10 years 100% 300% 400%

Exceptions to the additional premium

There are three exceptions where the empty property premium will not be added. These are: 

  • a property which has been left empty by a member of the Armed Forces who has been posted away from home
  • a property which is an annexe to another property and it is being used as part of the main property
  • homes that are a residential pitch occupied by a caravan or a mooring occupied by a boat will not be liable for the empty homes premium and will qualify for a 50% discount 

Circumstances where the empty premium may be waived

In certain circumstances long term empty properties liable for a premium charge may be eligible for an exception to this premium, reducing the charge to 100% Council Tax. This is awarded for a maximum of 12 months but certain criteria must be fulfilled:

  • owners who are genuinely attempting to sell or let their property which has been vacant for at least 2 years
  • owners who are experiencing particular legal or technical issues preventing the sale or let of the property
  • owners who are in negotiation with the Empty Property team

Additional exception or discount

In order to encourage the renovation and subsequent reoccupation of long-term empty properties, in addition to the above exceptions a further exception or discount may be granted but the following criteria must be fulfilled:

The property must have changed hands, and the new owner must provide evidence of a firm commitment to bring the property back into use within 12 months. Evidence will be required which may include builder’s quotes and confirmation of work started or other evidence supporting the work that is being undertaken. An inspection by one of our officers may be required to confirm the works are underway.

If you believe you are eligible for an exception please complete the Application for Exception to Premium form and return to the revenues team along with supporting evidence as requested on the form.

contact | Council Tax
Council Tax

West Lindsey District Council
Marshall’s Yard
DN21 2NA
United Kingdom