What is a Completion Notice?
A Completion Notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date' for newly built properties and is the date on which the property becomes a dwelling for Council Tax purposes. It is from this date that the property is banded by the Valuation Office Agency and entered into the Valuation list to enable council tax to be charged.
The Completion Notice is issued in accordance with Schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and Section 17 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
Where a domestic property is structurally complete, or where the work remaining can reasonably be expected to be completed within 3 months, a Completion Notice will be served on the 'owner' of the property. The 'owner' is defined as 'the person entitled to possession'.
Where work on a property is not yet completed, the Completion Notice can be served specifying the final completion day of up to three months from the date of service, for the remaining works for completion of the property to be carried out.
What criteria do we use to decide a completion date?
To ensure the accuracy of our Completion Notices, Council Inspectors may visit and review dwellings that are being built or altered. Evidence, such as photographs, are obtained to enable us make the right decision.
The Council will consider a property to have reached a stage of being substantially complete when it meets the following criteria:
- The basic structure is complete, for example all external walls and roof in place.
- Internal walls are built (although not necessarily plastered).
- Floors are laid (although the screed or top coat of concrete need not have been laid).
A notice will be issued even if the following works have not been completed:
- Fitting of all bathroom and kitchen units.
Fitting of electrical plug points and switches.
Internal decoration of the property.
Connection of water, gas and electricity (although services should be laid
The criteria for determining a property complete for council tax purposes is substantially different to that for determining completion for Building Control therefore whether a building control certificate has been issued is not directly relevant and a completion notice can still be issued for Council Tax purposes.
It is important to remember that a Completion Notice may be served up to three months in advance of the day on which the council specifies that a property could be complete. Therefore, whilst the property may not be complete when the completion notice is received (date of service), the important date to bear in mind is the date that the council is specifying as the date of completion.
What if a property is complete but unoccupied?
If the property is complete, the council will serve a Completion Notice on the owner as soon as is reasonably practicable. A Completion Notice cannot be backdated, even if the property has been completed for some time.
New properties, whether newly constructed or created by conversion, which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished will be subject to an exemption of the full charge for 2 months from the date it is brought onto the Council Tax List.
What if the property becomes occupied?
A new or altered dwelling does not require a Completion Notice once someone starts to live there. The date used to enter onto the Council Tax list will be the date of occupation.
What if I disagree with the Completion Notice?
The regulations specify that if you disagree with a completion notice you should appeal within 28 days of the date of service of the notice to the Valuation Tribunal Service.
Their contact details are:
Valuation Tribunal Services,
2 Trafford Court,
Telephone: 0300 123 2035
It must be made in writing stating the grounds for the appeal and should be accompanied by a copy of the Completion Notice that has been issued to you.
However, you can contact us in the first instance setting out the reasons why you disagree with the date of completion and once we have received your enquiry we may ask for further information to enable us to reconsider our decision. We will advise you of our final decision as soon as possible, to allow you sufficient time to appeal further if you wish. A revised completion notice will be issued, if necessary.