Council Tax Levy
Additional Council Tax Charge on unoccupied properties
As On 1 April 2013 the Scottish Government introduced legislation which allowed local authorities to determine the level of discounts, if any, on second homes and long-term empty properties. It also permitted the levying of an additional Council Tax charge of up to 100% of the Council Tax charge on long term-empty properties. This legislation is part of the Scottish government's strategy to encourage owners of long-term empty properties to return them back into use.
The content of this legislation does extend to 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's Policy and Resources Committee has made the following use of these statutory powers to levy an additional Council Tax charge:
- from 1 April 2014, an additional 50% Council Tax charge was levied on properties unoccupied for over 12 months;
- from 1 April 2015, an additional 100% Council Tax charge was levied on properties unoccupied for over 12 months.
Relief from the Levy
If a long-term empty property is being actively being marketed for sale or offered for rent, legislation permits that relief from the levy may be granted up to a maximum period of 12 months. In practice this means that entitlement to an award of relief will end on the twenty-fourth 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. From 1 April 2016:
- if the person due to pay Council Tax changes, the new liable person will be 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 (i.e. the thirty-sixth month that the property was unoccupied). The relief award will be a 10% discount.
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