If you have an empty house for any reason, whether you’ve inherited it or you’ve moved into another property and your current one is on the market, then you don’t want to be paying tax on the property, of course. However, this doesn’t mean that you simply avoid paying it, as there may be steps you need to follow in order to make sure the correct people have been made aware and that everything is legal.

If you’re ever unsure about whether or not you should be paying tax on an empty house, for example, if you have a holiday home that you don’t use for 6 months of the year, then make sure you call your council to speak to them and find out the protocol. This is also the case with anything commercial, make sure to speak to your council if you have commercial property in Hull or anywhere else in the UK to avoid hefty fines later down the line.

How To Avoid Paying Tax On The Empty House

The only legitimate way to avoid paying tax on an empty house is to get in touch with your local council, explain your situation and they will be able to advise. It could be that you don’t need to pay council tax at all, you may be able to access a discount; or you may need to look at other options to avoid paying tax, like renting out the property. We’re going to cover examples of when you do and don’t need to pay council tax as a general rule; however, it’s key that you keep your council up to date with any changes so they can let you know how much you need to pay.

Examples Of When You Don’t Need To Pay Council Tax On An Empty House

There are a few instances where you don’t have to pay council tax on an empty house, or you may be able to get exemptions.

You’re Selling On Behalf Of Someone Who Has Died

One of these is if you are selling a property on behalf of someone who has died, the property remains empty and you’ve not yet received probate for the property. Usually, once you get probate, you do need to begin paying council tax, although if you contact your council, you can often get an exemption for another 6 months as long as the property remains empty and it’s still legally in the name of the person who died.

Other Examples Of Homes Exempt From Council Tax

  • When someone is in prison.
  • Someone who is in a hospital long-term or in a care home.
  • A property that has been repossessed.
  • Properties that is derelict and can’t legally be lived in.
  • A property that is due to be demolished.

When You Rent It Out

If you own your property and you start to rent it out to people, then as tenants, they will be the ones responsible for paying the council tax. So, this is a good way to avoid council tax if your property is empty, just make sure you follow all the required legal protocol and that your property meets all of the rental requirements.

Examples Of When You Can Get Discounts On Your Council Tax

There are some examples of where people would get discounts on their council tax, so if you think any of these apply to you, or you think you are entitled to a discount for any reason, make sure to get in touch with your local council.

If You’re Working Away Long Term

For people who are working away from the property long term as a result of employment, for example, going abroad for a year and the property will be empty, you can apply for a 50% reduction in your council tax.

A Family Member Living In An Annexe

You can also potentially get a 50% reduction in council tax if an annexe on your property is lived in by a resident of the main building or a relative (online parents, children and grandparents). If someone who isn’t a relative lives in the annexe, then council tax will need to be paid.

Examples Of When You Need To Pay Council Tax On An Empty House

Unfortunately, usually, you do have to pay council tax on an empty home, if it doesn’t meet any of the above criteria or if it’s a holiday home you’re not inhabiting all the time.

You also need to be aware of premium charges, as if your home has been empty for 2 years or more, not under any of the conditions above, then you can be charged significantly more council tax, including four times the usual bill if your home has been empty for more than 10 years. This is to incentivise homeowners to bring their properties back into use, either by selling them, renting them out or utilising them. If you know a home is going to be empty for a considerable amount of time and you have no motivation to move back in, you should definitely look to sell it.

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