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)
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
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 and subsequent years from 1 April 2020 and 1 April 2021, based on the length of time a property has been empty and unfurnished.
Wirral Council decided for the financial year 2020/21 to increase the premium charged on long term unfurnished empty properties from 100% to 200% for properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than five years. This will result in 300% Council Tax payable for properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for five years or more.
This increase will apply from 1 April 2020.
From 1 April 2020:
- maximum of 100% premium - empty between 2-5 years (200% payable)
- maximum of 200% premium - empty at least 5 years (300% payable)
The Act also allows Councils to increase the premium charge in further years, as follows:
Wirral Council has decided for the financial year 2021/22 to increase the premium charged on long term unfurnished empty properties from 200% to 300% for properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least 10 years. This will result in 400% Council Tax payable for properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for ten years or more.
From 1 April 2021 onwards:
- maximum of 100% premium - empty between 2 - 5 years
- maximum of 200% premium - empty at least 5 years but less than 10 years
- maximum of 300% premium - empty at least 10 years
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 the Council would like to encourage owners of empty properties to get in touch and find out about the assistance available to help them improve, let or sell their property in order to facilitate the return to use of their premises and avoid payment of the additional long term empty premium.
For further advice please contact the Housing Standards and Renewal Team on 0151 691 8132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.