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Council Tax exemptions, discounts and increases - unoccupied properties

Unoccupied property

If no one is living in the property and there is no furniture you may be able to reduce your council tax bill by 100% for up to 6 months.

If the property has already been exempt for the maximum 6 month period and there is still no one living in it and no furniture you may be able to reduce your Council Tax by 50% for up to another 6 months. This will not reduce your water and waste water charges. 

If the property is unoccupied but furnished, you may be able to reduce your Council Tax charge by 10% for up to 12 months. If it is a second home, you may be entitled to a 10% discount for as long as you meet the qualifying criteria (see second home discount below).  

Furnished information: for the purpose of this reduction, 'unfurnished' means that the property doesn't contain any furniture other than:

  • carpets, curtains or blinds
  • cookers, gas or electric fires
  • fitted wardrobes or cupboards
  • fridge, freezer, washing machine or dishwasher

From 1 April 2019, a property that has been continuously unoccupied for 12 months or more, is not actively being marketed for sale or let and does not meet the qualifying criteria for exemption or discount, a 200% Council Tax charge will apply (sometimes referred to as a 'variation'). However, if the property is being actively marketed for sale or let, a 10% discount can be awarded for up to a further 12 months. If the property remains unoccupied after 24 months, the discount will end and a 200% Council Tax charge will apply. Water and waste water charges on your property will remain unaffected by the increased Council Tax charge.

Unoccupied periods

The period of time a property is deemed as 'unoccupied' is calculated from the first day it became empty. This may have occurred prior to you buying or renting the property. This means that if the property has been lying empty or a reduction has been awarded on the property previously, the level and duration of any reduction you are entitled to may be affected.

If the address you are/were living at whilst your property is/was unoccupied is outside South Lanarkshire, you will be required to provide proof of this with your online application. This can be a Council Tax bill for this address or a letter from the person you are/were living with.  Please have this ready to upload before you begin your application.

Second home discount

If the property is a second home, you may be able to reduce your Council Tax charge by 10%. This will not reduce your water and waste water charges.

A second home id defined by Scottish Government as a property which is:

  • furnished; and
  • no-ones sole or main residence; and
  • occupied for at least 25 days in any 12 month period but not as someone's sole or main residence

Apply for second home discount