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Luton Borough Council

Empty homes

 

You may be able to get some money off your Council Tax, or ​even an exemption, if your home is empty.

Select the reason your home is empty from the list below.

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If someone has died, we’ll transfer any credit to a new account, or refund it to the person's executor or representative (the person who deals with their personal affairs).

If you’re a surviving partner and you confirm that you are now the only adult in the household, we’ll give you a single person discount.

If the person was an owner-occupier who lived alone, we'll exempt the property from Council Tax until it's occupied again, or until probate is granted. Charges may become payable after six months.

If the household is claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support, or the surviving partner may now qualify for benefit, we’ll adjust the claim if necessary.

Use the Tell Us Once service on GOV.UK to report a death to most government organisations and council departments in one go.

If your home is newly empty due to any of the reasons listed below, please complete the newly empty home form below.

  • You’re in the armed forces and you are away on duty
  • It’s empty due to repossession, receivership or bankruptcy
  • You’re getting care or medical treatment elsewhere
  • You’re a student living away
  • You’re in prison
  • You have moved in with a carer
  • You have moved in with someone you care for

Apply for for a newly empty home

Armed forces accommodation, barracks, messes and married quarters which are owned by the Secretary of State for Defence are exempt from Council Tax.  

We can't give you a Council Tax discount if you live in a privately owned or rented home and one of the occupiers is away in the armed forces.  This is because the house would still be classed as their main residence for taxation purposes.  This applies to all those in the armed forces throughout the country and is in accordance with government guidelines. 

However, all armed forces personnel deployed on operations overseas, who normally pay Council Tax, can benefit from a tax-free payment on the cost of Council Tax, which is paid directly by the Ministry of Defence. This is called Council Tax Relief (CTR).

A property is exempt from Council Tax if it has been repossessed by a mortgage lender and is unoccupied. The exemption starts from the date of the repossession and would last until the property is sold or occupied.

You will need to provide proof that the property has been repossessed.

A property is exempt from paying council if it is empty because the person whose name appears on the Council Tax bill had to leave the property permanently to live elsewhere to receive care. 

The person whom is being cared for must require care for one of the following reasons:

  • old age
  • disablement
  • illness
  • past or present alcohol or drug dependence
  • past or present mental disorder.

You must have left the property to receive care elsewhere, and you cannot have moved anywhere else in between leaving the property and moving to receive that care.

If you own a home in Luton that's empty while you're away studying, you may be able to get money off your bill. Please login to MyAccount and complete a change of address form. Once you have reported the change of address form please complete the empty home discount form.

To qualify for this exemption:

  • the property must have been your place of residence prior to moving elsewhere to study and
  • you must have been a student whilst living there or
  • become a student within 6 weeks of leaving the property
  • If the home is somewhere else then apply to that council

Someone aged 18 or over who is on remand, in prison or in some other form of detention is not counted for Council Tax purposes.
An exemption will apply to a property where the owner or tenant is detained and the property is left unoccupied.
No discount or exemption will apply if:

  • the person is in prison for non-payment of either Council Tax or a fine
  • there are still two or more people in the household over 18 who are counted for Council Tax purposes

A property is exempt from paying council if it is empty because the person whose name appears on the council tax bill had to leave the property permanently to live elsewhere to provide care for someone.

The person whom is being cared for must require care for one of the following reasons:

  • old age
  • disablement
  • illness
  • past or present alcohol or drug dependence
  • past or present mental disorder

You must have left the property to care for that person, (i.e. you cannot have moved anywhere else in between leaving the property and moving to care for that person).

If a property is unoccupied because it is illegal to live in it, you will not have to pay council tax on it.

This includes those properties where:

  • planning consent specifically bans the use of the property as a home (for example, holiday chalets)
  • the property is subject to a closing or closure order (for example, properties that are unfit for human habitation, or that are closed at the request of the police)
  • action has been taken to acquire the property using an Act of Parliament

The exemption stops if someone occupies the property illegally.

If a property is unoccupied because it is being held for a minister of religion to use as their home, you will not have to pay council tax on it.

Properties that are held available for a minister of religion (of any recognised denomination) to perform the duties of their office are exempt from council tax

Exemption time limit

There is no time limit on this exemption. It remains active for as long as the property is unoccupied and is being held for a minister of religion.

Charities may not have to pay council tax on unoccupied properties they own.

This exemption applies to unoccupied properties that charities own, as long as the property was last occupied for the purposes of the charity.

This exemption applies whether or not the property contains furniture.

Exemption time limit

The exemption lasts for up to six months from the date the property becomes unoccupied.

When your residential caravan is on a pitch or your residential boat is on a mooring, you have to pay council tax on it. If you move it off the pitch or mooring, you can apply for an exemption.

 
​​After you've applied for a discount You must still pay the amount on your Council Tax bill until you hear from us. If you qualify for the discount, we’ll check every year that you're still entitled to it. Tell us if your circumstances change in the meantime as this may affect your discount. If you don't tell us you may have to pay a penalty.​​
© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ