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I am renovating an old house to such an extent that I cannot live in it at the moment. This has been the case for long enough now that last tax year I had the 50% premium added to my council tax bill. This in accordance with the UK government website.

For the coming tax year, I have been told that my local council (Tewkesbury Borough Council) are putting the premium up to 100%. I cannot see how they are allowed to do this, as the previous linked website states that it could be up to only an extra 50%, unless I am reading it incorrectly.

Can someone explain to me how I've read this wrong?

NOTE: I have attempted to get in touch with my council, who have so far told me that they are very busy and will answer my queries as soon as possible.

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Section 2(3) of the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Act 2018 amends the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to increase the amount that councils can charge for empty properties.

In particular, the maximum percentage by which council tax may be increased becomes 100% from 1 April 2019, and further maximums kick in in 2020 and 2021 for very long-term empty properties.

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    So the premium could rise to 200% for >5 years unoccupied properties from 2020, and up to 300% for >10 years from 2021. Better speed up those renovations : ) – marktristan Mar 22 at 12:08
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The way I read it,

  • you have a 50% premium added; this is statutory under the Local Government Finance Act 2012
  • if it transfers ownership and has been unoccupied / unfurnished 2 years or more, there is an additional (one-time?) charge of 150% payable, presumably by the new owner

This is my interpretation of https://www.tewkesbury.gov.uk/council-tax-empty-and-second-homes which states:

If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay a 150% council tax charge. The additional charge can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.

…but I would agree that this is not particularly clear.

  • So you agree with my reading, that there is no option of a 100% premium added, despite this being what the recent council tax letter said in it? – Puffafish Mar 21 at 9:35
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    I'd be asking the same question as you, if this is what the letter says – based on the information on their own website and the main gov.uk website. I am just wondering whether the difference between 50% and 150% is causing any confusion, but if you have in writing that it's an increased premium rather than a different charge, it would seem to be contrary to existing published information. However, I'm no expert in the law, and maybe it has changed / is changing… – marktristan Mar 21 at 9:40
  • Yep, it’s been amended last year – Steve Melnikoff’s answer contains the relevant info. Presumably from 1 April the .gov.uk websites will be updated to reflect the change. – marktristan Mar 22 at 12:05

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