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The Scottish Government announced in 2012 that Councils would be given new powers to help reduce the number of empty homes.

Since April 2013 Councils have had the option to reduce, increase or maintain discounts of between 10% and 50% on second homes and long term empty properties. Councils also had the powers to discount or increase charges on properties that have been empty for 12 months or more.

From April 2014, West Dunbartonshire Council have agreed to adopt a new policy that is intended to reduce the number of empty properties in our area.  This policy includes doubling the council tax for long term empty homes.

If you have had a change in your circumstances, please complete the online form and we will update your account details.  We may need to contact you if we require further information.

The changes from 1st April 2014 are -

Unoccupied and unfurnished

  • No charge for up to 6 months from the date the property was last occupied
  • 10% discount after 6 months for up to 12 months
  • Double the full charge after 12 months

Unoccupied and unfurnished (property on market for sale/let)

  • No charge for up to 6 months from the date the property was last occupied
  • 10% discount after 6 months from the date the property was last occupied until sale or let

Unoccupied but furnished property (2nd home)

  • No discount is available but 2nd home status would be granted which would prevent double council tax charge being applied as long as the property is occupied for more than 25 days per year

Unoccupied but furnished property (long term empty)

  • 10% discount for 12 months from the date the property becomes unoccupied
  • Double the full charge after 12 months

Unoccupied but furnished property (long term empty) (property on market for sale/let)

  • 10% discount for as long as property remains unoccupied & up for sale/let

Unoccupied and unfurnished (new build property)

  • No charge for up to 6 months from the date the property was first entered on the Council tax valuation list
  • 10% discount after 6 months for up to 12 months from the date the property was first entered on the Council tax valuation list
  • Double the full charge after 12 months

Unoccupied and undergoing (or has undergone) major repair works or structural alteration- not for sale /let

  • No charge for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied
  • Double the full charge after 12 months

Unoccupied and undergoing (or has undergone) major repair works or structural alteration (property on market for sale/let)

  • No charge for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied
  • 10% discount after 12 months

Discretionary Elements

Following a review of the Empty Property Discount Policy, some discretionary elements have been agreed.

  • Discretionary element for a maximum of 3 months for new owners that have purchased a property and where the property has exhausted all previous exemptions and discounts.  This option provides a safeguard for new owners who have purchased empty properties that require work to be completed, that is not structural or major, to bring the property up to a suitable standard for habitation.  A further discretionary period of up to 9 months will be considered to bring the property back into use if the owner has agreed with the Council to:
    • Take positive steps to occupy their property 
    • Agree to an 8 weekly inspection to review progress
  • Discretionary element for a maximum of 3 months for owners that have existing empty property that require work to be completed that is not structural or major, to bring the property up to a suitable standard for sale and rent and where the property has exhausted all previous exemptions and discounts.  This discretion will be considered where the owner has agreed with the Council to:
    • Take positive steps to refurbish their property
    • Agree to an 8 weekly inspection to review progress
  • Discretionary element for a maximum of 3 months for owners that have existing empty property that require work to be completed that is structural or major, to bring the property up to a habitable state, where the property has exhausted all previous exemptions and discounts.  This discretion will be consider only where there is clear evidence of a delay out with the owner’s control, caused by hired companies or professional bodies  (including where Council processes have held up building work) and the owner has agreed with the Council to:
    • Take positive steps to renovate their property 
    • Agree to an 8 weekly inspection to review progress