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Second Homes

We have used new powers to make changes to certain Council Tax discounts and exemptions that affect second homes and specific empty properties. The changes are summarised below:

Second homes (Property) - No discount. This means that owners of second homes in Stevenage will pay full Council Tax on those properties.

Council Tax Empty Homes charges for Stevenage are changing from 1 April 2017.

Empty Homes Charges

Up to 31 March 2017 From 1 April 2017
Empty (unoccupied and unfurnished):
10% discount for up to 6 months
Empty (unoccupied and unfurnished):
No discount
Empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) and undergoing repairs or structural work: 10% discount for up to 12 months Empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) and undergoing repairs or structural work: No discount
Empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) for over 2 years: 100% of liability Empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) for over 2 years: 150% of liability

Please note that from 1 April 2017:

  • a property that is empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) on 1 April 2017 will receive no further discount;
  • a property that is empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) and is undergoing major repairs or structural work will receive no further discount as of 1 April 2017; and
  • a property that is empty (unoccupied and unfurnished) for a period of 2 years or more prior to 1 April 2017 will attract a 150% charge.

If you require further information about these changes please contact us.

The Revenues Service
Council Offices
Wallfields
Pegs Lane
Hertford
SG13 8EQ

01438 242875
revenues@hertspartnership-ala.gov.uk

What are the changes?

A single person who moves out of a property which they own, will find that their council tax bill will rise. This is because once the property is unoccupied and unfurnished it does not attract a single-person discount, and a full 100% charge is due.

For example, a Single person is resident and is charged 75% of the Council tax liability. The single person leaves the property empty and unfurnished and a full 100% charge is due.

The owner then lets the property to a couple, and the charge is 100% of liability.

  • Landlords will find that where a property is unoccupied and unfurnished, they will have to pay a full 100% council tax charge.
  • New owner(s) of a property will pay a full 100% council tax charge from the completion date of purchase and owners who leave a property unoccupied and unfurnished prior to completion of a sale will pay a full 100% council tax charge up to the completion date of the sale.
  • New tenant(s) of a property that is unoccupied and unfurnished will pay a full 100% council tax charge from the tenancy commencement date and tenants moving out will pay a full 100% council tax charge up to the date the tenancy agreement ends.
  • Individuals buying a property which they then spend several months repairing or rebuilding, which they cannot or do not live in whilst the work is ongoing, will be liable for a full 100% council tax charge throughout the period of repair.

Some properties are exempt from Council Tax. If you own or occupy a property which is described below and your bill does not show that an exemption has been granted, please contact the Council for advice.

Unoccupied property exemptions

  • Repossessed by the lender e.g. building society.
  • Held for charitable purposes for up to 6 months.
  • Unoccupied while the liable person is in prison.
  • Unoccupied because the person who would be liable is permanently resident in hospital or in a residential care home.
  • Unoccupied and held for a minister of religion.
  • Unoccupied and probate has not been granted.
  • Unoccupied because the liable person is away, giving or receiving care.
  • Unoccupied and previously occupied by students.
  • Unoccupied and the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee.
  • Unoccupied ‘Granny Annexes’.

Occupied property exemptions

  • Occupied entirely by students.
  • That are forces barracks and married quarters. Their occupants will contribute to the cost of local services through a special arrangement.
  • Where at least one liable person is a member of a visiting force.
  • Where all the residents are less than 18 years of age.
  • Where all the residents are severely mentally impaired.
  • Where at least one liable person is a foreign diplomat.
  • ‘Granny Annexes’ occupied by a qualifying relative.

These categories are only broad descriptions of the available exemptions. If you believe an exemption should apply to your bill, please contact the Revenues Division for advice.

Please remember, while you are waiting for the outcome of an application, you must continue to pay your current bill. If this causes any problem, please contact us immediately.

Exemptions are reviewed at least once each year. We may ask you to provide information that helps us to do this. Failing to supply this information could mean any entitlement is cancelled.

If your bill shows that an exemption has been given, you must tell the council of any changes that affect your entitlement, within 21 days of the change.

Change in circumstances

If there are any changes to your circumstances that could affect your entitlement please complete the Council Tax Information Form and return it to us as soon as possible.

Council Tax General Enquiries

East Herts and Stevenage Borough Council
Wallfields
Pegs Lane
Hertford
SG13 8EQ

revenues@hertspartnership-ala.gov.uk

01438 242875

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council