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Council Tax premiums for empty properties and second homes

Since 1 April 2017, local authorities have been able to charge a premium of up to 100% of the standard rate of council tax on long-term empty homes and second homes.

The legislative changes were made by the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 and the powers given to local authorities are discretionary.

Swansea Council has now made a decision to introduce a 100% Council Tax premium, effective from 1 April 2020, for properties designated as long term empty (empty for more than a year) and for second homes (furnished properties that are not in use as someone's sole or main residence) from 1 April 2021.

The discretion given to local authorities to charge a premium is intended to be a tool to help local authorities to:

  • bring long-term empty homes back into use to provide safe, secure and affordable homes
  • support local authorities in increasing the supply of affordable housing and enhancing the sustainability of local communities

Are there any exceptions to the premium?

There are some exceptions to the premium that may apply from 1 April 2020 listed below:

  • Class 1 - dwellings being marketed for sale - this exception is time-limited for one year
  • Class 2 - dwellings being marketed for let - this exception is time-limited for one year
  • Class 3 - annexes forming part of, or being treated as part of, the main dwelling
  • Class 4 - dwellings which would be someone's sole or main residence if they were not residing in armed forces accommodation
  • Class 5 - occupied caravan pitches and boat moorings (second homes only)
  • Class 6 - seasonal homes where year-round occupation is prohibited (second homes only)
  • Class 7 - job-related dwellings (second homes only)

If you believe you are eligible for an exception listed above please contact the Council Tax Section with the relevant information.

What if my property isn't eligible for an exception?

With effect from 1 April 2020 for long term empty properties and 1 April 2021 for second homes you will be subject to the 100% Council Tax Premium, however the council does have schemes in place if your property remains a second home or long term empty property. If you would like to work with the council in order to bring the property back into full-time use we can potentially assist you. 

Owners of empty properties

I am an owner of a second home. How will I be notified that I am liable to pay the premium and how much notice, if any, will I be given?

All owners of second homes that the council is aware of will be written to during February 2020 advising them that a premium will be charged on their property effective from 1 April 2021. Any properties that are subsequently identified as second homes will also be written to advising them of the same. If you receive a letter and think your property should not be classed as a second home please contact us.

I am an owner of an empty property. How will I be notified that I am liable to pay the premium and how much notice, if any, will I be given?

All owners of properties that could be subject to the long term empty premium were written to in November 2019 advising them that they may be subject to a premium from 1 April 2020. Properties that have subsequently fallen into that category have been written to advising them of the same. If your property is likely to have been empty for a year or more by 1 April 2020 and you would like some help or advice please contact us. Further information will be included with your Council Tax Bill that will be issued in March 2020.

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