Reductions, discounts and exemptions

Sole-occupier discount
Other discounts
Reductions for residents with disabilities
Students
Exemptions
Empty home premium

Sole-occupier discount

You may be entitled to a 25 per cent reduction in your council tax bill if you are the only person (aged 18 or over) living in a property.

If you set up an account and register for council tax, you will be able to apply online for the discount, view the discount details and see how it changes your council tax instalments.

Create an account

Alternatively apply for a sole occupier discount using our online form or contact us and give the date you became the only resident. You may need to send us proof of the new address of anyone who used to live with you. If we are satisfied that you qualify for a discount, we will send you a revised bill.

From time to time we send review forms to check the discount still applies.

What happens if someone else over 18 moves into the property?

Please contact us straight away as this may affect the discount. Contact us.

What happens if you falsely claim the discount?

This is a criminal offence and you may be liable to pay a penalty.

Other discounts

We work out council tax by assuming that at least two adults are living in the property. Fifty per cent of the council tax is for the property and 50 per cent is for the people who live there. We do not count some people (disregarded categories) when we work out how many adults live in the property. This may allow you to receive a discount even if you do not live alone.

These disregarded categories are:

  • full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees – students will need to get a council tax certificate from their place of study and fill in an application form (see below)
  • 18- and 19-year-olds who are at, or who have just left, school or college
  • patients in hospital
  • people being looked after in care homes
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • people who care for someone with a disability who is not their spouse, partner or a child under 18
  • members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • foreign diplomats
  • members of religious communities (monks and nuns)
  • people in detention
  • people who are severely mentally impaired.

Other 25 per cent discounts

If there is only one person over 18 living in the property who gets counted, the person who pays the bill may be entitled to a discount of 25 per cent (see above).

50 per cent discount

You may be entitled to a 50 per cent discount if the property is not exempt and all adults (over 18) are disregarded.

Reductions for residents with disabilities

If an adult or a child in your household needs more space or a room to meet special needs because of their disability, you may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax.

The government’s Valuation Office Agency has put homes in one of eight valuation bands, from A to H. If you are entitled to this reduction we will work out your bill using the band below the current band of your property. For example, if your home is in band D, we will work out your bill using band C. For band A properties, we will reduce the council tax by one ninth of the band D amount.

Who qualifies?

We will reduce the council tax if a physically disabled person needs at least one of the following:

  • an extra bathroom or kitchen
  • extra space for a wheelchair if they need to use a wheelchair inside
  • a room that is mainly used to meet their needs

How do I apply?

If you think you or someone you know may be entitled to this reduction you can apply using this form:

Application for council tax reduction for residents with a disability (pdf)

Or contact us to ask us to send one to you.

Once we receive your completed form, we may contact you to arrange for someone from the council to visit your property. We may also contact your doctor, occupational therapist or social worker.

We will let you know our decision within 15 working days.

Does your income affect this reduction?

No, your income does not affect this reduction but we will need to confirm each year that your circumstances haven’t changed.

Student discounts

Every householder or tenant normally has to pay council tax. Full-time students may be entitled to a discount or if the property is occupied only by full-time students it may be exempt. Please complete the form below.

Council tax student discount or exemption application form (pdf)

What are the reductions?

A property that just full-time students live in is exempt from paying any council tax. Individual students are not exempt.

A 25 per cent discount may be given if all the residents except one are full-time students (for example, in a property that is jointly occupied by four people and three are full-time students). We do not count people as students if they are between courses of full-time education.

How do I apply for a student discount or exemption?

The person who has to pay the council tax (their name will appear on the bill) must fill in the form below.

Council tax student discount or exemption application form (pdf)

You must return the completed form with a council tax student certificate from the university or college for each student resident in the property.

Council tax student certificates will only be given to full-time students who are enrolled for one whole year and are studying for more than 21 hours a week.

Exemptions

Some properties are exempt from council tax. The different classes of exemption are listed below. Empty homes that are not exempt and remain empty for more than 2 years will attract empty homes premium.

See more about empty homes below

Properties occupied by:

  • full time students (you must fill in a Council tax student discount or exemption application form (pdf) and return it to us with a council tax certificate from your place of study)
  • severely mentally impaired people
  • a foreign diplomat who would normally have to pay council tax
  • people who are under 18
  • members of a visiting force who would normally have to pay council tax
  • elderly or disabled relatives of a family who live in the main property, in certain annexes and self-contained accommodation.

Unoccupied properties that:

  • are owned by a charity, are exempt for up to six months
  • are left empty by someone who has moved to receive care in a hospital or home elsewhere
  • are left empty by someone who has gone into prison
  • are left empty by someone who has moved so they can care for someone else
  • are waiting for probate to be granted, and for six months after probate is granted
  • have been repossessed
  • are the responsibility of a bankrupt’s trustee
  • are waiting for a minister of religion to move in
  • are left empty by a student whose term-time address is elsewhere
  • are empty because it is against the law to live there, including when a planning condition prevents occupation
  • form part of another property and may not be let separately.

A pitch or mooring that doesn’t have a caravan or boat on it is also exempt.

If you feel you are entitled to an exemption, please contact us – we may be able to give you an exemption straight away.

Empty homes premium

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 allows us to increase the council tax on dwellings that have been empty (unoccupied and substantially unfurnished) for more than two years to 150 per cent of the normal charge.

The new 150 per cent charge took effect on 1 April 2015 and will continue until revoked.

Two classes of dwellings are exempt from the premium:

  • a dwelling which is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces away from the property on active service
  • a dwelling which forms part of a single property which is occupied

If you want to object to the increased charge you have three options:

  • seek a judicial review in the High Court
  • apply to the local authority for discretionary relief
  • complain to the local government ombudsman.
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