Empty and second homes

What do we mean by 'empty property' or 'second home'?

  • Second home - this is a property that is not used as a main home by any person, but which is still furnished
  • Empty property - this is a property that is not used as a main home by any person, and is substantially unfurnished. You may have to pay more Council Tax depending on how long the property has been left empty.

Please note that the timescales below relate to how long the property has been empty for, and do not change because someone else becomes responsible for the Council Tax. For example, if you buy a property that has already been empty for 21 months, your Council Tax bill will go up to twice the full charge after a further three months if it is still not being occupied by anyone as their main home. 

What Council Tax do I have to pay on my empty property?

Explanation on what Council Tax you will have to pay on an empty property
Category Council Tax charge
Properties that are unoccupied and furnished (second homes). Full Council Tax charge
Properties that are unoccupied, unfurnished and undergoing major repairs or structural work. No Council Tax charge for the first month while the work is carried out. Full Council Tax charge after the first month ends.
Properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished. No Council Tax charge for first month that the property is empty. Full Council Tax charge after the first month ends.
Properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than two years. Twice full Council Tax charge.
Properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than five years. Three times full Council Tax charge.
Properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 10 years. Four times full Council Tax charge.

Empty properties with no Council Tax charge

You will not have to pay Council Tax for your property if it is empty:

  • For up to six months, it is owned by a charity and it was last used for the purposes of the charity.
  • Because the occupier is in prison (except for non-payment of Council Tax), detained under the Mental Health Acts, in hospital, receiving care in a hospital or home, or receiving personal care elsewhere because of old age, disability or illness.
  • Because the occupier has moved in order to provide personal care to another person.
  • Since the death of the owner or tenant, and for which the only liable person would be their personal representative (and for up to six months after probate or letters of administration have been granted).
  • Because its occupation is forbidden by law.
  • Empty and it is a caravan pitch or boat mooring.
  • Because it is waiting to be occupied by a minister of religion.
  • Empty and it was last occupied by the freeholder or tenant who is a student.
  • Empty and repossessed, or is the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy.
  • Empty and it has been and continues to be an annexe that is unable to be let under planning regulations (for example, a granny annexe).
  • Empty and it is accommodation for UK armed forces.

If you think your bill should be reduced, please contact us.

Please note: If your bill shows that you are getting a reduction you must tell us straight away if anything changes which may affect the amount you have to pay. If you fail to do so you may have to pay a penalty. The information on this page is a guide, not a full statement of the law.

Discounts for occupied properties

For information about discounts available for properties where someone does live as their main home, please visit our Discounts, reductions and exemptions page.

Contact us

Email: council.tax@dacorum.gov.uk 
Telephone: 01442 228000
Address:

Dacorum Borough Council
Council Tax Section
The Forum
Marlowes
Hemel Hempstead
HP1 1DN