Discounts & Reductions


Council Tax bills generally assume that there are two or more adults living in a property. However there are a range of discounts available. You can jump to different parts of this webpage by clicking on one of the below bullet points:

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.

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 Citizens Access Revenues Service. 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 Classes A, B & C Discounts (PCLA)

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 (PCLC280 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 two years and will show on your Council Tax Demand Notice as a PCLC discount.
From 1 April 2020 the value of this local discount is 0%, so 100% Council Tax is payable.
If the property remains unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years a Long Term Empty Premium of 100% will be added for up to a further 3 years. The 100% premium means you will be liable for the current charge and the premium, therefore 200% council tax is payable.

Additional Information for Landlords

From 1 April 2020 the value of discount available for empty and substantially unfurnished properties is 0%. This means that full council Tax is payable from the date a property becomes empty and substantially unfurnished and the lability for council Tax will pass to the landlord on the date the tenancy ends. The Landlord will remain 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?


Unoccupied and substantially unfurnished.


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

Long term empty premium

From 1 April 2022 properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more will attract an additional 100% premium on the council tax charge.
The premium will increase if the property remains empty after five years to 200% of the council tax charge.
Any property having been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than ten years will attract a 300% premium.
Under the law there are two classes of dwellings which are exempt from the premium. These are:
  • a dwelling which would otherwise be the sole or main residence of a member of the armed services , who is absent from the property as a result of such service
  • a dwelling, which forms part of a single property that is being treated by a resident of that property as part of the main dwelling
This measure has been brought in to discourage people from leaving properties unoccupied and unfurnished.

If your property is derelict

Your property’s only considered derelict if it is not possible to live in it, for example because it has been damaged, by weather or rot, and would need major structural works to make it ‘wind and watertight’ again.
You can challenge your council tax band if you think a derelict property should be removed from the valuation list.  Further details can be found here:

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.


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
  • The resident of the main house uses the annexe as part of their main home
  • 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.


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:

Disabled Band Reductions

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) and long term empty property premium

Properties that become unoccupied and unfurnished will receive a 0% discount from the date they become empty and unfurnished.
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.

Claiming an Exemption

If you wish to claim an Exemption please do so via the Citizens Access Revenue Service page, giving us full details of your circumstances. We may contact you requesting further information.

Benefit Claim Application