Council tax empty property premium

The London Borough of Harrow charges a premium on long-term empty dwellings. These are homes that are unoccupied and unfurnished for at least one year. The one-year period starts from the date the property first became empty. It does not restart if there is a change of owner.  It does not restart if there is a change of owner.

There is no right to appeal the level of the premium determined by the Council. You can appeal if you believe that:

  • you are not liable for the Council Tax; or
  • the premium has been applied incorrectly

The premium is in addition to the usual Council Tax charge.

The charge was agreed by the Council. It was introduced to encourage bringing properties back into use. For help to bring empty properties back into use, and to carry out repairs, please view the Empty Properties page.

The table below sets out the premium applied to long term empty and unfurnished properties:

Long term empty property criteria giving rise to additional Council Tax premiums Premium
Properties which have remained empty and unfurnished for at least 1 year 100%
Properties which have remained empty and unfurnished for less than 5 years 100%
Properties which have remained empty and unfurnished for between 5 and 10 years 200%
Properties which have remained empty and unfurnished for at least 10 years 300%

The effect of the premium is that the Council Tax payable will be the following percentages of the property valuation band:

  • 200% where properties have been empty and unfurnished for at least 1 year
  • 300% where properties have been empty and unfurnished for between 5 and 10 years
  • 400% where properties have been  empty and unfurnished for at least 10 years

From 1st April 2025, a premium of 100% will also become payable for properties where there is no resident and which are substantially furnished. That will mean that the Council Tax payable for such properties will be 200% of the Council Tax amount set for the valuation band of the property concerned

What to do if you think the premium charge is incorrect

Find out below what to do if you think the premium charge is incorrect because:

You have moved in now

If you want us to consider removing the premium you need to provide evidence of the date the change took place. Forms of evidence that we accept include: 

  • Your closing Council Tax bill for your old address showing your dates of residency
  • Notification to your mortgage company that you are now living at this address;
  • Notification of changing your buy to let mortgage to an in-residence mortgage; 
  • Removal firm receipts. 

Utility bills will not generally be acceptable as evidence of residency.

Please use the following link to submit your evidence for consideration:

Council Tax Evidence Form

This is now your main home

If you have more than one home, we will need to determine where your main residence is located. We may ask you some of the following questions to determine your place of residence for Council Tax purposes:   

  • Where does your family live? 
  • Where do your children go to school?  
  • Where do you keep most of your possessions? 
  • Do you normally rent out this property? If so, is this is a period in between tenancies? You will not get  a single person discount unless you can prove that you moved to this address after the tenant(s) left. This may be removal receipts, notifications to your insurance company and/or mortgage company. 
  • Where are you registered for your GP and / or dentist?
  • What security of tenure do you hold in this property?  (do you own or rent it?)
  • How much time do you spend at this property on average in a week?
  • Where are you registered to vote?  
  • Is this property your main home for your buildings and contents home insurance?
  • Do you have a buy to let mortgage?
  • Where are you registered for tax purposes?

After considering the above, the Council will decide whether your sole or main residence is elsewhere. If you disagree, you will need to provide evidence. Examples of evidence include the following: 

  • Your closing Council Tax bill for your old address showing your dates of residency at that place; 
  • Notification to your mortgage company that you are now living at this address;
  • Notification of changing your buy to let mortgage to an in-residence mortgage 
  • Removal firm receipts

When working abroad, your Harrow address will generally be considered your sole or main residence if you intend to return.

Please use the following link to submit your evidence.

Council Tax Evidence Form

The property is empty and unfurnished

There is generally no reduction for empty furnished or unfurnished properties in Harrow. In some circumstances, properties can be exempt. Exemptions depend on the reason the property is empty.

For further details please see Council Tax Discounts and Exemptions

You are required to live elsewhere as part of your employment

You will not be charged the premium If you are a required to live elsewhere while serving in the UK Armed forces. This may include:

  • accommodation provided by the armed forces
  • other accommodation that you need to live in for the purposes of your service.

You will need to provide confirmation of this requirement. For further details see UK Armed Forces Discounts.

If you are contractually required to live elsewhere as part of your employment, then you will need to provide your employment contract.  You will not be subject to a premium charge if your supporting evidence confirms this. Please use the following link to send your evidence:

Council Tax Evidence Form

There is a planning restriction in place

Regulations provide that where occupation is restricted for a continuous period of at least 28 days, the premium charge will not apply. If other planning restrictions apply which prevent your occupation, you may be entitled to an exemption from the premium charge also.
Evidence of either of the above must be provided for us to consider your request for an exemption from the premium charge. 

Please use the following link to send your evidence:

Council Tax Evidence Form

This property is an annexe to a main property

An unoccupied annexe may qualify for an exemption from a premium charge.

For further details see Council Tax Exemptions for Annexes

Any other reason

If none of the above conditions apply, but you believe that you should not be liable for the premium, please send details of this in writing with supporting evidence to the Council.

Please note: Disagreeing with the Council's determination to charge a premium on empty properties is not grounds for an appeal. 

For further information about disputes and appeals see Council Tax Appeals.