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Council Tax - exemptions, discounts and increases (unoccupied properties)

Property undergoing major repair/awaiting demolition/occupation prohibited by law


Major Repair

If a property is unable to be occupied because major repair work is being carried out, you may be able to reduce your Council Tax bill by 100% for up to 12 months from the date it was last occupied. If it remains unoccupied and still undergoing major repair beyond 12 months, you may be able to reduce the Council Tax (but not water and waste water charges) by 50% for up to a further 6 months. Please note this reduction applies to the property, not to an individual household. The potential reduction period starts from the first day the property became empty. This means that if the property has been lying empty, or a reduction has already been awarded on the property prior to you buying or renting the property, the level and duration of the reduction you are entitled to may be affected. If you bought a property which required major repair, but is no longer entitled to 100% reduction due to the length of time it has been empty, you may be able to reduce the Council Tax by 50% for up to 6 months from the date you bought it. This will not reduce the water and waste water charges.

The following are classed as major repairs:

  • major repairs to the roof or external walls
  • removal or replacement of supporting walls, floor joists or staircases
  • repair or renewal of foundations 
  • removal of floorboards in the majority of the property

Repairs that could reasonably be completed whilst a property was occupied would not be considered a major repair, such as:

  • replacing windows, doors or minor roof repairs
  • removal or replacement of internal walls, kitchen or bathroom
  • general redecoration, modernisation of fixtures and fitting or re-plastering walls
  • removal of floorboards in 1 or 2 rooms but the rest of the house is habitable
  • gas fitting, re-plumbing, re-wiring or installation of heating system

These reductions normally only start once the work is underway. This timescale includes getting quotes and dealing with insurance companies and so on. Any delay to the work starting may reduce the length of time of any reduction you may get.

Owned by a Registered Social Landlord and awaiting demolition

If a registered social landlord property is unoccupied and awaiting demolition, you may be able to reduce your Council Tax bill by 100%

Occupation prohibited by law

If the property is unoccupied due to a legal prohibition (for example, a Closing Order, Demolition Order or Compulsory Purchase Order), you may be able to reduce your Council Tax bill by 100%

Empty property surcharge

From April 2019, where a property has been unoccupied for more than 12 months and doesn't qualify for exemption or discount, the Council Tax charge will normally be increased to 200%, known as the Empty Property Surcharge.


You will have to upload proof that your property is unoccupied to apply for this exemption or discount. The proof you need to copy to us depends on which category you are applying under:

Undergoing major repair

  • either builder's schedule, insurance estimates, a home report detailing the work required, building material receipts or other relevant proof
  • if you do not live in South Lanarkshire and pay Council tax to us, we will also need proof of your address when this work is/was being done

Occupation is prohibited by law

  • either a court order (Closing Order or Demolition Order) or other legal document
  • proof of where you have lived since you left this property

Owned by a housing body and awaiting demolition

  • proof from the housing body that the property is not let whilst waiting on being demolished