Second home owners and council tax


April 25, 2024

From April 1st 2024, the UK government announced that if you own a second home and it has been empty for a long period of time, you may be liable to pay 100% more in council tax.

Homeowners of second homes in the UK have always had to pay extra council tax however, under previous rules, a property was only subject to additional tax where it had been unoccupied for two years. Now, the rules apply where a property has been unoccupied for 12 months.

The stricter rules come as part of the Department for Levelling Up’s efforts to bring in more money for public and local services, reduce overall council tax bills and from a long-term perspective, increase accessibility to the housing market for local families and first-time buyers.  

There are, as always, exceptions to the rule and you may not have to pay additional council tax on your second home where:

– A home has been inherited;
– A home is inhabitable due to major renovations;
– A second home is not available to live in all year round due to planning restrictions.

It will be interesting to follow how the change works in practice, how it is received by the public and whether it will achieve what the Department for Levelling Up says it will – “delivering more of the right homes in the right places and giving councils more power to help give local people the homes they need” (Local Government Minister, Simon Hoare).

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