Council Tax Levy - Frequently Asked Questions
Does this just apply in Moray? No. The legislation passed by the Scottish Government grants discretion to all local authorities to vary the level of discount awarded to unoccupied properties and to levy an additional Council Tax charge on long-term empty properties. Each local authority may decide what discount, if any, to grant to unoccupied properties and what additional charges, if any, to levy on long-term empty properties. This means there will be different rules and charges across Scotland.
My property is exempt will I have to pay the levy? No. If your property currently qualifies for an exemption and there has been no change in its circumstances, you will continue to be exempt from the payment of Council Tax. The additional charge is not levied on properties which are exempt from the payment of Council Tax.
My property has just become unoccupied will I have to pay the levy? No. The levy is not payable until your property has been unoccupied for more than 12 months.
I have just bought an empty property. Why do I have to pay the levy? The levy is payable on all properties which have been unoccupied for more than 12 months. On 1 April 2016 the council introduced a new relief which means that a purchaser will be entitled to a maximum period of 12 months relief from the levy. The relief award will be a 10% discount.
I own a Second Home. Will I have to pay the levy? If your property satisfies the Scottish Government's statutory definition of a Second Home - ie. is a property which is furnished and is occupied for at least 25 days per year - you will not have to pay the levy and will continue to be entitled to a 10% discount on your Council Tax bill. You will require to prove to us that you occupy the property for the required number of days. If you do not occupy it at least 25 days per year, we will class it as a long-term empty property and it will then become liable for payment of the levy.
I'm a landlord. What do I pay for periods in between tenants? If you offer the property for rent unfurnished, you will be entitled to six months exemption from the date that the property was last occupied. A 50% discount will then apply for the next six months. If your property remains empty and is being actively marketed for rent, the levy will not be applied and a discount of 10% will be awarded for up to a further 24 months. Once this 36 month period expires, since last date of occupation, an additional Council Tax charge will be added to your Council Tax account.
My property has been unoccupied for over five years and I'm now going to put it on the market for sale. Will I qualify for relief from the levy? No. The levy is payable on all properties which have been unoccupied for more than 12 months. The unoccupied period commences on the last date of occupation. Relief is available for a further twelve months from the last date of occupation if the property is being actively marketed for let or for sale. Since this 24 month period has already expired, you have no entitlement to relief from the levy.
Do I need to apply for a new empty property reduction? No. If you are currently receiving a discount or exemption we will automatically calculate the impact of the committee's decision for your Council Tax account and your new Council Tax bill will reflect this. If your house has only just become unoccupied, please let us know immediately so that we can award any appropriate reduction.
I'm trying to sell my house and will struggle to pay this. What can I do? If the property remains empty for more than 12 months and is being offered for sale, the levy will not be applied if you can prove that it is being actively marketed for sale. The levy will be applied once a maximum period of 36 months since last occupation has expired. All other charges must, however, be paid during this period. Whilst payments must be made within the current financial year we may be able to spread the payments throughout the year. If you're having difficulties making these payments, please contact us as soon as possible for help and advice.
Customer Contact Team