Council Tax Exemption

We have a vacant studio flat which is simply not moving, since quite some time over one year.

It’s most unusual, since we started renting this flat 20 years ago, we have never had any vacancies beyond a couple of months. The quality of applicants is very poor from our OR listing and from our agents listing on Rightmove. I have 5 other flats in this block and have had no problem letting them and keeping the tenants long term. So I’m quite puzzled why this one appears to be sticking, and it’s not the the least desirable in the block.

I’m thinking of making the flat uninhabitable, in an attempt to obtain exemption from Council Tax. My thoughts being that the removal and replacement of a toilet would be far cheaper than what I pay even in one month of council tax charges.

Do any other landlords have experience of this scenario, and are able to offer any advice as to what is accepted / deemed uninhabitable.

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My understanding is that you would have to take out the whole suite and the kitchen to be near uninhabitable

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I like your way of thinking though!


My understanding is that a property has to have a serious structural problem, or be undergoing major work to get get any council tax relief


I would just suggest that you check the councils rules in your area. Because sometimes the most they give only one month relief or write to them and ask for exemption.

At least they should give some relief when property is empty, unfurnished or refurbishing.

used to be 6 months if empty then central goverment gave the counsel ability to do what they wanted so most reduced it to one month… stitcvhed us all up again . There is only one way to get you own back on local and central goverment.

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I think the rental is slow and even I have one flat Which is recently painted and excellent condition and is not rented and but others in the same development rented.
Sometimes I have rented my place with one viewing in past as even I have comments from people who come to view the property saying I look after my properties very well.

Even I have not got one enquiry from for a long time. Also I have noticed so many other properties are in same area.

It’s shame that private landlords donot get any exemption from council tax and no help from

I know there are a few landlords have more than one properties empty.

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They did in the old days, we used to get 6 months exemption. Then the government gave the local councils the right to determine their own policies and ours, Kirklees, took the harshest line possible, removing any exemption, we actually pay from the last day of the tenants occupancy would you believe.

They also reject any application for the single occupancy reduction when the flat has zero occupancy. It’s almost as if they have a vendetta against private landlords, as we all know we are an easy touch to increase their coffers disproportionately at the landlords cost.


Like you Prafula, we keep our properties in excellent condition and of a high standard, but stilI we had 4 empty over the first Covid lockdown period, costing me over £400 / m in council tax, not to mention loss of income. They gave no consideration to our plight, which was a direct result of the lockdown.

I think they have the impression that all landlords are rich, if we can afford a second or more homes. They really do not understand it is a business, not a rich mans hoilday home.

The Inland Revenue also do not consider letting property to be a business, to them they are investments. Before I moved overseas, I ran our portfolio as my sole business / income source, but they still refused to accept it was a business.

Add to that, now I’m resident overseas, when I draw my UK pension which I’ve paid into like everyone else, they will freeze it and refuse to apply any uplifts of the annual increases thereafter. Hence the reason I built a letting portfolio to support ourselves in our retirement. Some retirement, having to deal with the constant problems of the letting business via our agent.

I had an estate agent once ask me, why are you buying property, giving the above reason, she said “I’m not bothered about that, I’m spending all my money and the state can look after me in my retirement”… In other words our taxes!

The councils / government do not do fair, reasonable and logical, it’s all about money in their coffers, to support those who won’t (the majority) and can’t (the minority) support themselves, what a system! Here in Thailand, you either work or starve, and you won’t find many Thais sat on their backsides playing with mobiles, and games on a big modern smart TV.

End of rant :slight_smile:


Hi Chris
Only way we could do is start a petition and demanding to change in the law

  1. for no council tax for empty property

  2. letting properties for private landlords is a business as it’s full time job for many private landlords and for pension and not investment

We could ask Openrent to start on behalf of private landlords represent private landlords whose voice can be heard.

As something has to be done to be for fairness for private landlords if the government wanted to continue and support private rental business.


Depends on your local council. We did a major renovation on our home a few years ago. The inspector deemed it liable for council tax after a complete exemption as soon as there were toilet/bathing facilities and one habitable room and this was a couple of months before the builders were done and we were able to move back in.

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always do the kitchen and bathroom renovations last in order of jobs


It just depends on local rules, so best to ask the council. In the past I have had 3-month exemptions for unfurnished unoccupied properties.


They sound worse than Kirklees.

I had a flat under construction and they only ever telephoned to check on progress. Of course we didn’t notify them until it was 100% complete.

If that’s the recent past, then you are very lucky Tony.

I’ll leave that one up to you Prafula, as my campaigning days are pretty much over. I’ve almost lost the will to fight anymore, at my age.

This business has just about exhausted me and stressed me to the limit, and I’m now more than happy to pay an agent to manage it, although I’m pestered on an almost daily basis for some decision / direction.

I hate being an open target, it completely goes against my principles.


Hi Chris

True, I hate being open target too but I express my views my views.

Hopefully one day it would be better for everyone and especially next generation.


18 months for the most recent exemption - allowed for up to 3 months between tenancies.

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Tony you are doing well in your area


Perhaps I should have made it clear that it was 18 months ago I had a 3-month exemption. This year I obtained a maximum 12 month exemption for the owner of a property in Bristol that needs structural repair. If the repairs aren’t completed then council tax will then be payable after 12 months.