Council Tax Exemptions

Empty properties owned by a charity are exempt for up to 6 months from the date that the last resident vacated, provided that the property was and will continue to be used for charitable purposes. The property does not have to be furnished to qualify.

If the dwelling that was previously your sole or main residence is left empty, it will usually be exempt.

If you are:

  • Detained in prison or hospital by order of a court   
  • Detained under the Deportation Provisions of Immigration Act 1971
  • Detained under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Imprisoned, detained or in custody for more than 48 hours under the Army Act 1955, the Air force Act 1955 or the Naval Discipline Act 1957.

This exemption applies to unoccupied dwellings where the owner or tenant of a dwelling has their sole or main residence (their home) in a residential care home, nursing home, hospital or hostel in which they are receiving care or treatment.

When a property had been occupied by a single person, who either owned or rented the property and that person dies, the property is exempt from Council Tax payment for as long as it remains unoccupied, and until probate is granted.

If a property was previously occupied by two adults, providing only one person continues to live in the property, we will transfer the Council Tax name solely into their name and grant a 25% sole occupier discount.  

An unoccupied property is exempt from Council Tax if its occupation is:   

  • Restricted by a planning condition that prevents occupancy (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990);    
  • Prohibited by law;
Or
      
  • If it is kept unoccupied by reason of action taken to prohibit occupation, or      with a view to acquiring it, under powers conferred by any Act of     Parliament.

Unoccupied dwellings, which are being held available for a minister of religion, as a residence from which he or she will perform the duties of their office, are exempt from Council Tax.

The exemption applies to a property being held for a minister of any religious denomination.

A property is exempt from paying council if it is empty because the person whose name appears on the Council Tax bill had to leave the property permanently to live elsewhere to receive care.

You must have left the property to receive care elsewhere (not a hospital or care home) and you cannot have moved anywhere else in between leaving the property and moving to receive that care.

A property is exempt from paying council if it is empty because the person whose name appears on the Council Tax bill had to leave the property permanently to live elsewhere to provide care for someone.

You must have left the property to care for that person, (i.e. you cannot have moved anywhere else in between leaving the property and moving to care for that person).

Where a student is the owner of an unoccupied dwelling, the property is exempt provided that when it was last occupied, it was their sole or main residence and that no one else, other than students, lived there.  

The exemption applies whether the person was already a student when they left the dwelling or if they became a student after changing their main residence. He or she must have become a student within 6 weeks of leaving the property for the exemption to apply and the exemption only continues as long as the person remains a student. 

The Mortgagee in relation to a mortgage is the organisation who provided a loan (e.g. a bank or Building Society) who has granted a mortgage on the property as security.   

The mortgagor is the person who has mortgaged their property in return for receiving the loan.

If a property is empty and the Mortgagee takes possession under the mortgage, it is exempt from Council Tax. 

The mortgagor will remain liable until the property is sold. 

Halls of residence for students are exempt from Council Tax as long as the accommodation is owned or managed by an educational establishment (such as a College or University), or where an educational establishment nominates the majority of the student residents.

The accommodation must be provided predominantly for students, which does not prevent part of the accommodation being used permanently, or temporarily, for staff or other people.  

Properties that are occupied by full time students only are exempt from payment of Council Tax. We may require certificates of full time education before this exemption can be applied to your Council Tax account.

If you are a student and you share your address with another person who is not a full time student, then we may be able to reduce the Council Tax bill by 25%.

Living accommodation for UK armed forces which is owned by the Secretary of State for Defence is exempt whether it is occupied or not.

This includes barracks and other accommodation on military bases, together with married quarters, as long as this accommodation is held for the purposes of forces accommodation. 

A dwelling is exempt if any one of the persons who would be liable to pay the Council Tax has a "relevant association" with a visiting force from a country to which the Visiting Forces Act 1952 applies.

Where the person who would be liable for the Council Tax in respect of an unoccupied dwelling is a trustee in bankruptcy, the dwelling is exempt from paying Council Tax.

The exemption applies whether the unoccupied dwelling is furnished or not, and avoids charges being incurred by the trustee which cannot be met from the estate of the bankrupt individual.

The exemption applies whether or not the trustee is jointly liable with any other person.

A caravan pitch or a boat mooring is classed as a dwelling for Council Tax if it is currently being used as a person's sole or main residence, or its next use is likely to be that of a domestic residence.

A pitch, which is not occupied by a caravan, or a mooring, which is not occupied by a boat, is exempt for the whole of any period during which this situation exists.  

A property that is only occupied by a person who is or by persons who are, under 18 years of age is exempt from having to pay Council Tax. The landlord will remain liable for Council Tax in these circumstances.  

We will ask you to provide proof of the date of birth for the occupiers (such as a birth certificate, passport or benefit entitlement letters).

This exemption may be granted where an annexe is empty and cannot be let separately without a breach of planning control under section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

An 'annexe' for the purpose of Class T is defined as a dwelling which forms part of a single property which includes another dwelling.


Severely mentally impaired (SMI) means a person who has a severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning (however caused), which appears to be permanent.

If a dwelling is only occupied by people who are classed as SMI it is exempt from Council Tax; however, this is only the case if the person whose name appears on the bill lives in the dwelling and is also classed as SMI.

If a person living at a property is classed as SMI, and they live with other people, that person is disregarded from Council Tax. This means we do not count them when calculating the number of people living in the house. If, by not counting that person, the number of people living in the property is just one, a 25% discount may be granted.

To qualify you must be eligible for one of the state benefits listed below:

  •  Incapacity Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance (middle or high care component)
  • Disability living Allowance (Personal Independence Payment)
  • Disablement Pension Increment (due to constant attendance needs)
  • Disability Working Allowance
  • Unemployability Supplement or Allowance
  • Income Support (which includes Disability Premium
  • Employment Support Allowance (Income Related or Contributory)     

Secondly, a qualified medical practitioner (usually your doctor) must confirm to the council that in their medical opinion you are severely mentally      impaired. We will write to your doctor once we have received your application.  You can download the application forms below: 

Severe mental impairment council tax exemption application form for Lewes District Council

Severe mental impairment council tax exemption application form for Lewes District Council
Summary: Download the Severe mental impairment council tax exemption application form for residents in the Lewes District Council area
File Size: 222KB
File Type: application/pdf
Created: 06 November 2017
Last Modified: 06 November 2017

People with diplomatic privileges and immunity under the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, the Commonwealth Secretariat Act 1968 or the Republic of Ireland (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1985 do not have to pay council tax.

To apply for this exemption please contact us with the following information:

  • The address of the property
  • The name of the diplomat
  • The name of the country the diplomat represents
  • The date the diplomat moved into the property
  • Evidence of the person's diplomatic status (copy of passport)

A dwelling is exempt if it forms part of a single property including at least one other dwelling and is the sole or main residence of a dependent relative of a person who is resident in the other dwelling.

A dependent relative for this purpose is;

  • A person aged 65 years or more

  • A person who is severely mentally impaired

  • A person who is substantially and permanently disabled