Do You Have to Pay Council Tax When Renovating?

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Do You Have to Pay Council Tax When Renovating?
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Certain conditions make properties exempt from council tax.

One of these can be you are renovating a property. But it’s only sometimes the case. 

Let’s learn when and why council tax exemption applies to renovated properties.

What is council tax?

Council tax is the annual fee homeowners are charged by the council for the services they provide, such as rubbish collection, filling in potholes, and libraries.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) assigns each property in the UK a council tax valuation band. Your property’s band determines how much council tax you pay.

Your council tax bill is typically split into ten monthly payments.

When is a property exempt from council tax?

Sometimes, a property in the UK can be exempt from council tax. This exemption may be for a fixed period – such as six months – or indefinitely. 

A few examples of when a property may be exempt include:

  • A property which a mortgage lender has repossessed
  • A property which is unoccupied because the person who lived there has left to care for someone else
  • An unoccupied property because the person now lives elsewhere, as they need to be cared for (for example, in hospital or in a care home)
  • A property where all the people who live in it are aged under 18
  • Condemned property
  • A holiday caravan or boat if it’s on a property where council tax is paid
  • A property which is occupied only by people with severe mental impairment

Do I have to pay council tax when renovating a property?

If renovations to your property make it uninhabitable, then it is likely exempt from council tax.  

When renovations include significant home repairs or structural changes, residents will likely (but not definitely) be exempt from paying council tax for the process.

Applying for a council tax discount for home renovations

If you want to apply for a council tax discount during renovations, you must inform your local council office before the renovations begin

If the work has started, you should inform them as soon as possible. Ideally, you will inform them in advance.

After this, the council will contact the residents and send a representative to survey the premises. 

If the house is eligible for a discount, the reduced amount of council tax will remain applicable for an entire year. The discount you are offered is up to the discretion of the council.

Once you start living on your property again, you should inform your local council within 21 days.

Do you pay council tax on an empty property?

Whether you must pay council tax on an empty property depends on the circumstances

For example, you will almost always have to pay council tax on a holiday home – but when the property is in your possession for other reasons, you may not have to.

Tenants that have vacated a property they are still under contract for still have to pay council tax. But once the contract is up, the landlord must pay it.

Your council may give you a discount on council tax, but it’s up to them how much you can get. You should contact your council to inquire about this.

Sometimes, you don’t need to pay council tax on an empty property. This includes homes:

  • Of someone in prison (except for not paying a fine or Council Tax)
  • Of someone who’s moved into a care home or hospital
  • That have been repossessed
  • That cannot be lived in by law, for example, if they’re derelict
  • That are empty because they’ve been compulsorily purchased and will be demolished

You should check your council’s regulations for empty properties on their official website if you are unsure.

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