Discounts & Reductions

Forms

Council Tax bills generally assume that there are two or more adults living in a property. However there are a range of discounts available as follows:

Single Person Discount

Apply for Single Person Discount

Council Tax is made up of a property element (50%) and a person element (50%) and assumes that there are two or more adult occupiers. If there is only one adult occupiers or if additional people are disregarded for the purposes of Council Tax a discount of 25% may be claimed.

If you want to claim a Single Person Discount it is important that you tell us as soon as possible. You can request a Single Person Discount online, over the telephone or by email to revenues@surreyheath.gov.uk

We will normally award the Single Person Discount from the date you apply. If you are late requesting a Single Person Discount we may require you to provide evidence to confirm your sole occupation of the property before any discount award can be backdated.

If you are no longer a single occupier you must tell us as soon as possible, you can use the online form. If you are late to inform us, we will backdate any change to when it happened.

Absences because someone is working away from home or taking extended holidays are not usually enough to allow a Single Person discount to be awarded. In the case of married or unmarried partners even if someone is away a lot of the time because of work, the "marital home" will remain their residence for Council Tax purposes.

Applications for all discounts are subject to periodic reviews. The Council will also take steps to verify the information given elsewhere within the Authority or with external bodies involved in the administration of public funds. These checks may be done by an external agency appointed by the Council.

Members of the Armed Forces

Unfortunately we would be unable to grant a discount at the property if one of the occupiers is away in the armed forces. This is because the house would still be classed as their main residence for taxation purposes. This applies to all those in the armed forces throughout the country and is in accordance with the government guidelines.

However, all armed forces personnel deployed on operations overseas, who normally pay council tax, will now benefit from a tax-free payment on the cost of council tax paid directly by the Ministry of Defence.

If you are living in Service Families Accommodation (SFA) and own a property in this borough you may be entitled to a 50% discount of off your Council Tax. If you consider the SFA to be your main residence and your own property is furnished so that it can be used as a second home please contact these offices to speak to a member of the Council Tax Team.

Please note that the 50% Second Home Council Tax Discount does not extend outside Great Britain. Therefore, if you own a home in England, Scotland or Wales but are posted abroad your GB property will count as your main residence and therefore you will not qualify for a 50% discount

There are prescribed classes of discount which have to be set by Surrey Heath Borough Council. A discount rate can be set at any value between no discount and 100% reduction. Please see below as to whether any discount rate applies.

Prescribed Class A Discount (PCLA)

Properties that are furnished, no-one's sole or main residence and which people are not allowed to live in for at least 28 continuous days in a row each year.
100% Council Tax is payable.

Prescribed Class B Discount (PCLB)

Properties that are furnished, no-one's sole or main residence and which people are allowed to live in for at least 28 days in a row each year. These include second homes and furnished properties which are available for let.
100% Council Tax is payable.

Prescribed Class C Discount (PCLC28 and PCLC)

This applies to properties that are substantially unfurnished and are no-ones sole or main residence.

This discount lasts for a maximum period of 28 days only and will show on your Council Tax Demand Notice as a PCLC28 discount.

After this period has ended, the discount will be reduced to zero and 100% Council Tax will be payable. This discount will show on your Council Tax Demand Notice as a PCLC discount.

The discount lasts for up to 28 days from the date the property becomes vacant.

After the discount period has expired, you will have to pay 100% council tax.

If the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years a premium of 50% is added to the account therefore 150% council tax is payable.

We only allow one council tax-free period of 28 days, irrespective of any changes in ownership. In order to claim a second period of exemption (28 days) the property must have been re-occupied for a period of at least 6 weeks.

If, during the discount period, someone moves into the property or it becomes substantially furnished for a period of less than six weeks, then it becomes vacant again, the discount will still only run for the rest of the original 28 day discount period.

Additional Information for Landlords – 28 days discount (100%)

Tenants are usually charged from the start date of the tenancy to the end date. If the tenant moves out at the end of the tenancy, the Landlord will become liable for the council tax but if the property is rented out substantially unfurnished the landlord will be entitled to the PLC28 discount from the date the tenants moved out. After the 28 days have lapsed the Landlord will be liable to pay full council tax.

However, if the tenants move out prior to the end of their tenancy agreement they will remain liable to pay the council tax. The 28 days discount will start from the date they leave the property, not the end of tenancy date. This discount will run for the full 28 days or the end date of their tenancy (whichever comes first). Once this 28 days period has ended the tenant will become liable to pay the full council tax assuming that their tenancy has not ended. They will continue to remain liable until the tenancy end date has been reached. After this a new council tax account will be created in the Landlord’s name/s. If the tenancy ceases during the 28 day discount the remainder of the discount period will be transferred to the Landlord’s council tax account.

An example of this is as follows:-

A tenant has a tenancy agreement on an unfurnished property which ceases on 10 January but moves out on 22 December

Up to 21 December

Tenant is liable to pay 100% council tax as they occupy the property

22 December to 09 January

The tenant is liable but a PCLC28 is applied which is a 100% discount

10 January to 18 January       

Landlord is liable to pay council tax because the tenancy has ceased but what is left of the PCLC28 is granted

19 January onwards

The Landlord is liable to pay the full council tax charge

 

The above only relates to properties that are left unoccupied and substantially unfurnished. If the property is a furnished let then the tenants are liable up to the date the tenancy ceases and no PCLC28 can be applied. This applies even if the tenant moved out prior to the end date of the tenancy. The Landlord will also be liable for full council tax from the date the tenant’s tenancy agreement ceases until a new tenant moves in. 

What do we mean by the terms vacant, unoccupied and substantially unfurnished?

Vacant

Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.

Unoccupied

There is no-one living at the property as an only or main home.

Substantially unfurnished

The property is empty or contains only a small amount of furniture, equipment and items that are not enough to support anyone living there long-term.

By this we mean:

  • Carpets
  • Curtains
  • Any items that are built into the property, such as some cookers, gas fires and fitted wardrobes or cupboards
  • White goods, such as a fridge or freezer
  • Abandoned items of furniture that are in such a poor state of repair that they no longer have any use

Discount Disregards

When we are working out how many people live in a property, we do not count the following groups of people:

  • Patients resident in hospital
  • People who are being looked after in care homes
  • People who are severely mentally impaired
  • People staying in certain hostels and night shelters
  • 18/19 year olds who are at or have just left school
  • Care workers working for low pay, usually for charities
  • People caring for someone with a disability who is not a spouse, partner, or child under 18
  • Members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • Members of religious communities (e.g. monks and nuns)
  • People in prison (except for non payment of Council Tax or a fine)
  • Non-British spouses of students
  • People with diplomatic immunity
  • Full time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth training trainees.

If you are on your own in a property and one of the discount disregards above applies to you, then you will be given a 50% discount.

If all the people in a property are not counted then a 50% discount will be given. However if all the people in the property are either full-time students or severely mentally impaired the property will be exempt from paying any Council Tax.

Second Homes

If a property is no one's sole or main residence, the owner will still be liable to pay 100% of the Council Tax due. This applies whether the property is furnished or not.

Properties that are empty for more than 2 years will be charged a premium of 50% and will therefore be liable for 150% Council Tax.

Annexes

Annexes that are occupied by a relative of the person living in the main house or which are being used by the occupier of the main house as part of the main home will be able to apply for a 50% discount on the Council Tax payable on the annexe.

In order to qualify for this discount the following criteria must be met:-

  • The annexe must be occupied by a relative of the person who lives in the main house. A term 'relative' refers to a parent, child, step child, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, grandparent and grandchild. It also extends as far as great, great relations
    or
  • The resident of the main house uses the annexe as part of their main home
    and
  • The annexe must be within the grounds of the main house and does not necessarily have to be attached to the main house but must be included in the title deeds of the main house.

If you meet the above criteria and wish to apply for the 50% discount please complete the Annexe Discount Form online.

Exemptions

Certain types of property are exempt from Council Tax, this means we don't charge for Council Tax on it. Some are exempt when the property becomes unoccupied and some can still be exempt even though occupied.

A full list is as follows:

Exemptions for Unoccupied Properties

Class B: Properties owned by a charity provided the property was used for the purposes of the charity right up to the date it became empty (exempt for up to six months if they are still empty).

PCLC28 (discount): Properties that become unoccupied and unfurnished will receive a 100% discount for 28 days. After the 28 days have finished 100% council tax is payable. When the 28 days exemption ends we can only give another 28 days 100% discount after the property has been lived in for longer than six weeks. The 100% discount applies to the property and if the ownership of the property changes during the 28 day period then the 28 day period does not start again. For example. If a property becomes unfurnished on 1 April a 28 day 100% discount is granted until 28 April. If the property is sold on 15 April and the new owners do not move in or furnish it they are only entitled to a 100% discount from 15 April to 28 April. They will then become liable to pay 100% council tax with effect from 28 April.

If the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years a premium of 50% is added to the council tax account and 150% becomes payable.

Class D: Properties left empty by someone who has been detained in a prison or taken into hospital.

Class E: Properties left empty by someone who has gone to receive personal care in a home or hospital.

Class F: Properties left empty by someone who has died and probate is awaited. Class F (1) is awarded for the period up until probate is awarded and Class F (2) for up to six months after the grant of probate.

Class G: Properties left empty because nobody is allowed to live there by law.

Class H: Properties left empty waiting to be occupied by a Minister of Religion.

Class I: Properties left empty by someone who has gone to receive personal care.

Class J: Properties left empty by someone who has gone to provide personal care.

Class K: Properties left empty which were last used and owned by a student.

Class L: Empty properties which have been passed back to the mortgage lender.

Class Q: Properties left empty because the owner has been made bankrupt.

Class R: Vacant domestic caravan pitch.

Class T: Empty annexes where the main property is lived in, e.g. granny annexes.


Exemptions for Occupied Properties:

Class M: Students' hall of residence.

Class N: Properties occupied only by students.

Class O: Armed forces accommodation.

Class P: Visiting forces accommodation.

Class S: Properties occupied only by persons under age 18.

Class U: Properties where all the occupants are severely mentally impaired.

Class V: Properties occupied by visiting diplomats.

Class W: Granny annexes where the occupant is elderly or disabled.

If you wish to claim an Exemption please complete our Online Form, giving us full details of your circumstances. We may contact you requesting further information.

Benefit Claim Application