Some homes may be exempt from Council Tax. This depends on the reason they are empty or the special circumstances of the people who live in them.
Apply for a Council Tax exemption
You can log in or register for an online account to apply for a Council Tax exemption. You can also tell us without signing up for an account. To do this click on 'Continue without registering' after you have clicked on 'Apply for a Council Tax exemption' below.
Please include your Council Tax reference number, which can be found on your bill.
The following are exempt from Council Tax. There are specific criteria that must be met for each exemption:
- lived in only by full time students. If the husband, wife or dependant of a student is not a British citizen and their visa prevents them from taking paid employment or claiming benefits, the exemption will still apply as long as the other person is a student
- lived in only by people below the age of 18
- a property which forms part of a single property including at least one other property (granny flat) and which is the only or main residence of a dependant relative of someone in the main property
- lived in by a foreign diplomat or senior official of certain international organisations or Forces barracks and married quarters
- lived in only by people who are severely mentally impaired (subject to qualifying criteria below)
- Qualifying criteria for severely mentally impaired Council Tax exemption
- More information about Council Tax discounts and exemptions
The following are exempt from Council Tax. There are specific criteria that must be met for each exemption. If the property is or has been:
- owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months). A dwelling owned by a body established for charitable purposes only, which is unoccupied and has been so for a period of less than 6 months and was last occupied in furtherance of the objects of the charity
- left empty by someone who is now in prison
- left empty by someone who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital or a home, such as a nursing home
- Repossessed (in possession of the mortgage company)
- waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted, and for up to six months after
- the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy
- empty because the law has said it must not be lived in
- waiting to be lived in by a minister of religion
- left empty by students who live elsewhere to carry out their course
- unable to be let separately because it is part of a main property or there is a planning restriction
If you own an exempt property, you do not receive a Council Tax bill but you are sent an Exempt Dwelling Notification.
There is no Council Tax discount for empty or unoccupied properties, the full Council Tax is payable unless it is exempt for one of the above reasons.
Long Term Empty Property Premium
An additional amount of Council Tax (a Premium) is charged when a property has been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, regardless of any change in ownership. Up to 31st March 2019 the Premium charge was an additional 50% to the full Council Tax charge (150% payable).
The Government introduced an amendment to the legislation in November 2018 – The Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018, which allows councils to further increase the Council Tax premium on long term empty unfurnished properties from 1 April 2019.
Wirral Council has decided to increase the premium charged on long term unfurnished empty properties from 50% to 100%. This will result in 200% Council Tax payable for properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two years. This increase will apply from 1 April 2019.
To ensure the Council Tax is correct, please inform the Council Tax office when your property is either, sold or let providing full details of the new tenants or owner.
Tackling empty residential properties is a priority for Wirral Council and forms part of the Corporate Plan, a 2020 vision. The council would like to encourage owners of empty properties to get in touch. Assistance is available for owners to improve, let or sell their property in order to get it back into use. This will help to avoid payment of the additional long term empty property premium.
For further advice please contact the Housing Standards and Renewal Team on 0151 691 8132 or email [email protected]
The Act also enables councils to increase the premium charge to 200% in 2020 for properties unoccupied and unfurnished for over 5 years. This will increase to 300% for properties that remain unoccupied and unfurnished after 10 years. Wirral Council will decide at the time whether or not to make changes from 1 April 2020 onwards.
Properties having structural alterations or repairs
Properties requiring or undergoing structural repairs, or those that are uninhabitable, are no longer exempt and no discount will apply. A full Council Tax charge will be payable.
Second homes discount
There is no reduction on second homes.