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Dwellings exempt from Council Tax payment

Depending on the liable person’s circumstances an empty property may be exempt from paying Council Tax. Empty homes are classified by the Council, depending on why and how long they have been left empty. Classifications include people in hospital or receiving care, unresolved ownership matters, usually following a death, as well as financial matters, such as property repossessions.

In Torbay the majority of empty homes exempt from Council Tax are due to the recent death of an owner, establishing the validity of a will, or the owner having to be moved into care. These are obviously troubling times for bereaved, or concerned relatives, so engagement must be handled sensitively and with care.

Table 5: Torbay empty homes by exemption category, 2023
Reason Number Percentage
Vacant, pending minister of religion 1 0.1%
Vacant, owner in prison 4 0.5%
Vacant, owner providing care 4 0.5%
Vacant, owner receiving care 7 0.9%
Vacant, mortgagee in possession 9 1.2%
Vacant, phrohibited by law e.g. fire regs or standards notice 24 3%
Vacant, owned by charity or registered provider 32 4%
Unoccupied annexe attached to property 38 5%
Six month exemption after probate granted 144 19%
Vacant, owner in nursing, or care home 149 19%
Vacant, owner deceased 354 46%
Total 766 99.2%
Appendix 1 – Empty property priority assessment form