Discounts, exemptions, reliefs, and empty properties

There are numerous discounts, exemptions and other relief that may be claimed, depending on your household’s situation, to reduce your bill.

These are independent of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, which you may qualify for depending on your income, savings and household circumstances.

Apply for a discount or exemption

Single person discount

The full Council Tax bill assumes that there are two or more adults i.e. people aged 18 or over, living in the property. The amount of Council Tax payable may be discounted depending upon the number of adults living in a property. If you are the only adult living in your property you may qualify for single person discount and your Council Tax bill may be reduced by 25%. We may need to decide where someone's main home is, for example, if they work away from home or if they have more than one home. 

Apply for a single person discount

Other discounts


If a property isn't anyone's main home it might affect how much Council Tax is paid.

There are different categories where this may apply:

  • Empty and Unfurnished
  • Undergoing major repairs
  • Second home or holiday home
  • Unoccupied for other reasons

Empty properties

If a property is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished there is nothing to pay for the first three months. The period can't exceed three months even if there is a change in ownership. After three months the full Council Tax charge is due.

Empty Property Premium

This was introduced by Government in April 2012 to encourage the reintroduction of previously empty homes onto the Market.

If the property is still unoccupied and substantially unfurnished after two years a 100% premium will be charged on top of the full Council Tax bill (equivalent to a 200% charge).

If it is still unoccupied after a period of 5 years then a 200% premium will be charged, equivalent to a 300% charge,

If it is still unoccupied after a period of 10 years then a 300% premium will be charged, equivalent to a 400% charge.

In certain circumstances the Premium can be restricted, if for example the property is being actively sold or being made available To Let, or if work is still being undertaken on a property which is on a Listed Building or Conservation area so the nature of the work being done will be longer than usual.

Properties undergoing major repairs

If an empty property needs major repair works to make it habitable, or is undergoing structural alterations, there could be nothing to pay for the first 12 months. No discount would apply after this period and the full Council Tax will then be due no matter how much work is still left to do.

We will ask to see proof of the work required, by way of photographic evidence if possible, and the discount will end early if the property is furnished or occupied. 

Second homes and holiday homes

If a property is furnished but it is no-one’s main home, the full Council Tax charge will apply.

If your property is rented out as a holiday home for 140 days or more each year, you may need to be assessed for Business Rates instead of Council Tax.

The Valuation Office Agency will make this determination.

Business rates: Self-catering and holiday let accommodation - GOV.UK (

Other unoccupied properties

There are various circumstances where no Council Tax will be due. Here are some examples of where an exemption may be granted.

When someone has died

An exemption may be given that lasts for up to six months after probate has been granted (or letters of administration have been made). An exemption will stop before the end of the six-month period if the property is sold, ownership is transferred, or the tenancy ends.

The person that died must have been the only person responsible for the Council Tax bill and was the owner of the property if applicable.

When someone goes into hospital or care, or provides care to someone else

We may give an exemption if your home is unoccupied because you have moved into a residential or nursing home, or hospital. You may also qualify for an exemption if you have moved to receive care somewhere else because of disability, illness, or old age.

We may be able to award an exemption if your home is unoccupied because you have moved away to provide care for someone else.



Annexes for elderly or disabled relatives

If your home has an empty annexe (such as a 'granny flat') that has a planning restriction preventing it from being sold or let seperately, there will be no Council Tax to pay. 

The exemption will also apply if the annexe is occupied - but only if the residents are all elderly or disabled relatives.

We may also be able to give a Council Tax exemption for an unoccupied property when:

  • it has been re-possessed under a mortgage
  • the owner is a trustee in bankruptcy
  • occupation is prohibited by law
  • it is a vacant caravan pitch or boat mooring
  • the previous resident is a student who has moved away to study
  • the previous resident is now in prison or is detained under the Mental Health Act
  • it is held for occupation by a minister of religion to perform their duties
  • it is owned and was last occupied by a charity (and it has been unoccupied for less than six months)

To apply for these exemptions please complete the application form from here:

Discounts, exemptions and relief | South Derbyshire District Council

We don't count certain people when we look at the number of people living in a property for Council Tax purposes. This can reduce the Council Tax payable by up to 50%. This applies mostly to students and the mentally impaired. 

Disabled Persons relief

Under certain circumstances a reduction may apply where a property has certain facilities (such as an extra room or bathroom, or space for a wheelchair used inside the dwelling) to meet the needs of a disabled person. 

If your circumstances have changed, meaning you are no longer entitled to a discount, exemption or relief, you need to report it within 21 days of the change occurring