Local government finance circular 6/2024: council tax on second and long-term unoccupied homes guidance

Guide to help local authorities when applying their discretion to either reduce or increase council tax liability to second and long-term empty homes.

1. Introduction

This guidance note replaces 2013 guidance and 2018 supplementary guidance, issued to local authorities in the form of a letter, about council tax on second and long-term unoccupied homes.

This note covers powers contained in these regulations by the Local Government Finance (Unoccupied Properties etc.) (Scotland) Act, and related regulations:

The descriptions below summarise legislative changes introduced through the 2013 Regulations and subsequent amending instruments.

2013: Enables local authorities to charge an empty homes council tax premium of up to 100%.

2016Enables local authorities to remove the discount on second homes.

2023: Enables local authorities to charge a second homes council tax premium of up to 100%; and the empty homes premium can no longer be applied to homes which have been empty for at least 12 months, where the property has been purchased by a new owner within the past six months, and repairs or renovations are being undertaken to contribute to the improvement of the property


If you have any questions or comments regarding this guidance, please email ceu@gov.scot

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