Reductions, discounts and exemptions

  • 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.

    When you register for council tax, you can tell us whether you are eligible for a sole occupier discount. 

    If you have already registered and your occupancy status changes and you are now the only person liable for council tax in your property, you can apply for a single person discount in My Account. 

    Apply for a sole occupier discount

    Or you can contact the council tax team to let us know.

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

    Please use the move in /out option in My Account. This will affect the discount.

    What happens if you falsely claim the discount?

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

  • Other discounts and people who may be 'disregarded'

    The council tax charge is based upon the number of people living in a dwelling. If you are 'disregarded' it means that we do not count you when we work out the number of people living in there.

    When counting the number of people living in a dwelling, if there is just one person living there, a 25% discount may be granted. If all the residents at a dwelling are 'disregarded' a 50% discount may be granted.

    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. The best way to do this is to register with My Account, where you can complete a council tax student change form
    • 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.
  • 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 in your household may be entitled to this reduction the best way to do this is to register with My Account, where you can complete a disabled relief form.

    Apply for Disabled persons council tax reduction

    Or contact the council tax team 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 your disability 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 and exemption if the property is only occupied by full-time students.

    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 complete a student change form. 

    To complete the application you must have a council tax student certificate from the university or college for each student resident in the property. Council tax student certificates are only given to full-time students who are enrolled for one whole year and are studying for more than 21 hours a week.

    Student council tax discount application form (PDF) 

  • 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.

    Properties occupied by:

    • full time students who must be registered for a student discount or exemption
    • 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 (if the property is jointly owned and there are living owners, liability passes to them and the exemption doesn’t apply) and for six months after probate is granted
    • 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 the council tax team.

  • Second homes and empty homes premium

    The full rate of council tax must be paid on second homes and empty properties. 

    Since 1 April 2019, any property that has been empty for more than two years will be charged a 100 per cent premium council tax rate. This means you will pay double the amount. An empty property can be unoccupied or substantially unfurnished.

    Two classes of properties 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 two options:

    • seek a judicial review in the High Court
    • complain to the local government ombudsman.