Council Tax Levy
Important changes in the levying of Council Tax on unoccupied properties from 1 April 2014
The Scottish Government has introduced new legislation as part of its strategy to encourage owners of long-term empty properties to return them back into use. This allows local authorities to determine the level of discounts, if any, on second homes and long-term empty properties. We can also choose to levy an additional Council Tax charge of up to 100% of the Council Tax charge on long term-empty properties.
This legislation, which came into force on 1 April 2013, does not impact upon the water and waste water charges that are payable for an unoccupied property.
The legislation also introduced a revised definition of a second home. For a property to be considered a second home, it must be furnished and the Council Taxpayer must now prove to the local authority that it is occupied for at least 25 days per year. If this cannot be proven, the property will be treated as a long-term empty property and may become liable for any additional charges which are levied on that class of property.
Moray Council Policy
Moray Council has decided at a meeting of its Policy and Resources Committee to make use of these statutory powers to levy, from 1 April 2014, an additional 50% Council Tax charge on properties which have been unoccupied for more than 12 months. From 1 April 2015, this was increased to an additional 100% Council Tax charge.
Relief from the Levy
If a long-term empty property is being actively being marketed for sale or offered for rent, relief from the levy may be granted up to a maximum period of 12 months, ending in the 24th month that the property was unoccupied.. This relief will be a 10% discount.
Revised Relief from Levy from 1 April 2016
The council recently increased the relief it makes available to those due to pay the levy:
- If a property changes ownership, the new owner is entitled to a maximum period of 12 months relief from the levy. The relief award will be a 10% discount.
- If a property is being actively marketed for sale or offered for rent, relief from the levy may be granted for a maximum period of 24 months, ending on the 36th month that the property was unoccupied. The relief award will be a 10% discount.
These additional reliefs are only effective from 1 April 2016.
You may be able to claim for relief if your property is being actively market for let or for sale.
You can find more about the policy changes, read FAQs and details of the meeting at which the revised reliefs were introduced (PDF).
Customer Contact Team