Second homes

A second home is a property that you own or rent but don’t occupy as your main residence. You can apply for second home classification.

Council Tax legislation defines a second home as a property which is:

  • No one's only or main residence
  • Furnished and lived in, other than as a sole or main residence, for at least 25 days during any period of 12 months ​- for example for holidays or to be closer to your place of work

Apply for second home classification

Second home charges

The Scottish Government is committed to reduce the number of empty properties, and increase the availability of properties for living in. As a result they put in place the The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2023.

These regulations give councils discretionary powers to:

  • Vary the rate of discount allowed for empty properties and second homes (between 0% and 50%)
  • Impose an increase (of up to 100%) in the level of Council Tax charged on properties used as second homes

All Scottish councils have these discretionary powers, therefore there will be different policies across Scotland. In Aberdeenshire, at the full council meeting on 22nd February 2024, it was agreed that level of charge on second homes would double.

From 1st April 2024 properties classed as second homes are subject to a 100% increase in the Council Tax charge, meaning a charge of 200% will be applied. Water and wastewater charges (where applicable) and which are billed on behalf of Scottish Water, are not subject to the increase. 

While you are allowed to appeal the 200% charge on your second home, please first contact the Council Tax team to let us answer any questions you may have. Find out more about Council Tax appeals.

Second homes used as a business

If your second home is used and operated as a business, for example, as a short-term let or Airbnb (or similar), it may be subject to non-domestic rates instead of Council Tax.

Find out more about how self-catering type accommodation is treated for the purposes of local taxation.