Empty and unfurnished property Council Tax discounts

Where a property is both unoccupied and completely unfurnished an exemption may be awarded for a period of up to 6 months from the date the property was last occupied, provided that the last period of occupation lasted for at least 3 months.

To be considered unfurnished, a property must be devoid of all moveable items. Although white goods (built-in or free standing), carpets, curtains and window blinds are not considered to be items of furniture, any other moveable item is.

Wherever possible appropriate evidence should be supplied with your application to substantiate it, for example, photographs, copy of sale schedule (if appropriate), removal receipts etc.

Aberdeenshire Council operates a policy of selecting properties, on a random basis, for inspection. If a property is selected for an inspection, this may be an announced inspection (where access to the property will be required) or unannounced, where an external inspection only will be carried out.

Aberdeenshire Council reserves the right to take whatever steps it considers necessary to ensure your application is valid. Where the validity of an application is in doubt, no reduction will be awarded.

To apply for empty property exemption or discount, please complete and return the application for vacant property exemption or Discount (pdf 64KB).

Council tax charges 

The table below shows how we will work out the Council Tax charge from 1 April 2015 for all types of unoccupied property.

Type of PropertyPosition from 1 April 2015
Unoccupied and unfurnished No charge for up to six months from the date the property was last occupied
  10% discount after six months for up to 12 months
  No discount after 12 months up to 24 months
  From month 25 onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Unoccupied and unfurnished (property on market for sale/let) No charge for six months from the date the property was last occupied
  10% discount after six months for up to 24 months
  No discount after 24 months up to 36 months
  From month 37 onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Unoccupied but furnished property (property on market for sale/let) 10% discount for 24 months from the date the property becomes unoccupied
  No discount after 24 months up to 36 months
  From month 37 onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Unoccupied and unfurnished (new build property) No charge for up to six months from the date the property was first entered on the Council Tax Valuation List
  10% discount after six months for up to 12 months from the date the property was first entered on the Council Tax Valuation List
  No discount after 12 months up to 24 months
  From month 25 onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Unoccupied and undergoing (or has undergone) major repair works or structural alteration No charge for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied
  No discount after 12 months up to 24 months
  From month 25 onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Following a property sale - unoccupied and undergoing (or requiring) major repair or structural alteration 50% discount for six months from the date the property was purchased
  10% discount after 6 months for up to 12 months
  No discount after 12 months up to 24 months
  From 25 months onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Unoccupied but furnished property 10% discount for 12 months from the date the property becomes unoccupied
  No discount after 12 months up to 24 months
  From months 25 onwards, a Council Tax increase will be applied - i.e. 200% charge
Unoccupied but furnished property (2nd home) 10% discount as long as the property is occupied (on average) for more than 25 days per year

Information contained on this website is for guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative statement of law.

The empty property exemptions and unoccupied discounts are all property based and therefore the rules continue to apply during periods in which the property ownership and/or the Council Tax payer may have changed.

Council Tax increase  

Increase on empty properties

As a result of The Scottish Governments commitment to reduce the number of empty properties in Scotland they enacted The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2013.

These regulations provide Councils with the discretionary power to vary the rate of discount allowed in respect of empty properties (between 0% and 50%) and/or also impose an increase (of up to 100%) in the level of Council Tax charged on certain empty properties after a certain period of time.

As a result of this legislation, from 1 April 2015, a Council Tax Increase will be imposed on all properties which have been empty for at least 2 years. This means a 200% charge being levied annually.

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