Council Tax and Completion Notices for new builds

A Completion Notice specifies the completion date for newly built properties. It is the date the property becomes a dwelling for Council Tax purposes. It is the date it is entered into the valuation list.

We serve Completion Notices on property owners when:

  • a domestic property is structurally complete; or
  • work can reasonably be expected to be complete within 3 months

If work on a property is not complete, the notice can be served specifying a final completion day. The completion day can be up to 3 months from the date of service. This should reflect the extra time required to complete the work.

The council's inspector will visit all properties that are being built or altered. This is to ensure the accuracy of our completion notices. They will take photos and complete a checklist.

We consider properties to have reached a stage of substantial completion when it meets the following criteria:

Shell and core

  • all external walls are complete
  • roof tiles are laid
  • ceilings are in place
  • floors have been laid
  • staircase(s) have been fitted
  • external doors fitted
  • windows fitted
  • permanent availability of gas/electric/water is laid up to the property. It does not have to be connected.

First fix

The position from foundation up to plastering:

  • cutting and laying of joists
  • erecting studwork and partitioning
  • fixing door linings
  • fixing window boards
  • assembling and erecting staircase(s)
  • plasterboards
  • fixing cable network around shell

Second fix

  • external doors
  • fixing of skirting, architraves and decorative mouldings
  • finishing off staircases and balustrade
  • installation of power points
  • boxing in - waste runs and sanitary ware
  • radiators and boilers
  • guttering and down pipes

Properties can be ready for banding before the following work is complete:

  • internal decoration of the property, including the fitting of internal door
  • final fitting of bathroom and kitchen units
  • final fitting of electrical fixtures, plug points and switches
  • final connection of water, gas and electricity.

Council Tax Completion Notices are different to those for Building Control. Legislation does not allow us to consider financial or personal factors when setting a completion date. The property need not be structurally complete by the completion date. It must only be capable of completion.

If you disagree with a Completion Notice you should appeal within 28 days to the Valuation Tribunal Service.

A completion notice is issued in accordance with Schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and Section 17 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

Frequently asked questions

I have received a completion notice. Do I need to pay anything?

A completion notice is only served when the council believes the property is complete, or could reasonably be complete within 3 months. Details about the process and how to appeal are on the completion notice you have received.

Making an appeal is not grounds to stop paying your council tax. If your appeal is agreed, but you overpay in the meantime, you can ask for a refund.

What should I do if I disagree with the start date on the completion notice?

The completion notice tells you how to make an appeal and the timescales to do this. Unless your appeal meets those standards you won't be able to make a submission. However, you may want to write to us explaining why you disagree so that we can review the start date. If we decline your request we'll let you know what the next stage of appeal is.

What should I do if I have received a completion notice, but the property is not complete?

The property may not be complete, but the notice has been served. The property has a date by when it could reasonably be expected to be complete; within 3 months. If you disagree with this then follow the appeal instructions on the completion notice sent to you.

What should I do if I have received completion notice for separate dwellings in a single building but am still paying for the building as a single dwelling?

When the completion notice is sent to you for the new properties, we will raise a request to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to remove the original property. Until they remove this from the local valuation list we will continue to charge the council tax.