Discounts, Exemptions, Council Tax Benefits, Local Council Tax Support

Single occupier discount

If you are the only person aged 18 or over living in your property you may be entitled to a 25% discount in your Council Tax.

To apply for this discount you can download an application form, see Related Content or call us on 01702 318197 or 01702 318198

If you are receiving this discount and some-one else moves in your property or a family member becomes 18 you must tell us immediately as this will affect your discount.

If you falsely claim this discount you may subject yourself to a financial penalty.

Annex Discount

A 50% discount is available for people living in annexes if they are related to the person who is named on the bill for the main property.

Other discounts

A full Council Tax bill assumes that your property is occupied by at least two persons aged 18 or over. We do not count some people when working out the number of adults living in a property. These include:

  • Full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and youth trainees
  • People who live in hospital
  • People who are being looked after in care homes
  • People who are severely mentally impaired
  • People staying in hostels for the homeless or night shelters
  • 18 and 19 year olds who have just left school
  • Resident care workers working for low pay
  • People caring for someone who is not their partner or their child
  • Members of visiting forces and foreign institutions
  • Diplomats and their husbands or wives (who are not British)
  • Monks and nuns
  • People in prison (except those in prison for non payment of Council Tax or fines)

If you think you may be entitled to a discount call us on 01702 318197 or 01702 318198

Exemptions

Some properties may be exempt from payment of Council Tax.

The different classes of exemption are listed below:

Properties that are solely occupied by:

  • full time students
  • severely mentally impaired people
  • people under the age of 18
  • diplomats who would normally have to pay Council Tax
  • members of a visiting force who would normally have to pay Council Tax
  • dependent relatives living in certain annexes

Unoccupied properties which:

  • are owned by a charity (exempt for up to six months)
  • are left empty and the owner or tenant who was living there is in prison
  • are left empty by some-one who has moved to receive personal care in a hospital, care home or somewhere else
  • are waiting for probate or letters of administration to be granted (after someone has died) and for up to six months after the probate or letters are granted
  • are empty because it is against the law for anyone to live in it
  • are waiting to be lived in by a minister of religion
  • are empty because the owner or tenant who was living there has moved away to care for someone
  • are owned by a student and they were the last person to live there
  • have been repossessed and are still empty
  • are the responsibility of a trustee for someone who has been made bankrupt
  • are a pitch for a caravan or mobile home, or a mooring for a houseboat
  • are part of a property that also includes another home and cannot be let separately

If you think your property may be exempt form Council Tax call us on 01702 318197 or 01702 318198

Council Tax on empty properties

From 1st April 2015 we no longer allow a discount for properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished. Neither do we allow a discount for properties undergoing or requiring major works or structural alterations.

These types of properties are subject to 100% Council Tax.

An additional amount of Council Tax (a premium) is charged when a property has been empty for two years or more. Up until 31 March 2019 this premium is 50%.
Following a recent change in legislation to allow Billing Authorities to increase the level of the premium, Rochford District Council passed a resolution on 19th February 2019 to charge the following:

  • From 1 April 2019, a premium of 100% on properties which have been empty for more than two years
  • From 1 April 2020, a premium of 200% on properties which have been empty for more than five years
  • From 1 April 2021, a premium of 300% on properties which have been empty for more than ten years

If the premium applies to you we will write to you and let you know.

There are two types of property that are not affected by the premium:

  • property which is left empty by a member of the armed services, who is away from the property as a result of their service
  • property which forms part of a single property, for example, an annexe which is used by the owner of the main house.

If your bill shows a long-term empty premium and you think that your property is in one of these categories please contact us straight away on 01702 318197 or 01702 318198.

As this premium applies to the property, a change of ownership or tenancy will not affect the premium. If when you purchased or leased your property it had already been empty and unfurnished for two years or more, you will have to pay the premium that applies.

The additional charge can only be removed by bringing your property back into use.

Council Tax on empty properties with effect from 1st April 2015

If a property:

  • needs or is having major repairs or structural alterations no discount will apply
  • is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished no discount will apply
  • is unoccupied and furnished no discount will apply
  • is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for two years or more a 50% premium will be applied.
  • From 1 April 2019 this will increase to 100%. From 1 April 2020 this will increase to 200% on properties which have been empty for more than 5 years. From 1 April 2021 this will increase to 300% on properties which have been empty for more than 10 years.

Disabled persons banding reductions

You may be entitled to a reduction in your Council Tax if a disabled person lives in your property and has one of the following adapted features to meet their needs:

  • An extra bathroom or kitchen
  • A special room used to meet their needs, for example a room used for kidney dialysis equipment
  • Sufficient floor space to permit the use of a wheelchair. The disabled person must require the use of a wheelchair indoors

For more information or to apply call us on 01702 318197 or 01702 318198

If your application is successful we will calculate your bill using the valuation band below the current band of your property. For band A properties your Council Tax will be reduced by one ninth of the band D amount. Income is not taken into account when we decide if you are entitled to this reduction.

We are required to review your account every year. You must tell us if there any changes in your circumstances that may affect your discount.

Council Tax Support

If you are responsible for paying the council tax and are on a low income you may be entitled to a reduction in the amount you have to pay. Council Tax Support is available to everyone including pensioners, people on Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, or Employment and Support Allowance, people in low paid work or who have a limited income from any other source.

To find out if you may qualify use our online calculator in Related Content. You can claim by downloading a claim form from Related Content, visiting our offices or phoning 01702 318197 or 01702 318198

The key elements of our Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) scheme are:

  • Working age claimants living in properties whose Council Tax band is E, F, G or H will have their LCTS restricted to the maximum amount payable for a Band D property. This restriction does not apply to pensioners
  • Regardless of their financial circumstances every working-age claimant will pay the first 28% of their council tax liability.
  • Working age claimants who have more than £6,000 savings will be not entitled to claim LCTS. Pensioners who have more than £16,000 savings will not be entitled to claim LCTS
  • Non-dependants may affect LCTS entitlement for pensioners but will not affect entitlement for working age claimants