Council tax discounts and exemptions
Properties can be exempt from council tax, or your bill could be reduced by a discount of up to 50%, or by the equivalent of one band, for the following reasons.
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You can claim 25% off your council tax if you are the only person over 18 who lives in your home.
You may also qualify for a discount if either all or all but one of the residents are disregarded, (that means: not included in the calculation of the council tax amount payable). The discount will normally be 25%, but there are occasions when this could rise to 50%. For example, if all the residents of a property are eligible to be disregarded, your council tax may be reduced by 50%.
For further information regarding discounts, please contact us on 0208 356 3154.
Categories of people who may qualify to be disregarded include:
- most full-time students
- people who live with and care for someone else
- young people for whom child benefit is payable
- people under 25 who receive training under the national traineeship scheme
- student nurses
- foreign language assistants
- people who leave school after 30 April and start a course of further education before 30 October of the same year
- people who are detained in prison or under the Mental Health Acts
- patients who live in a hospital, care-home, nursing home or mental nursing home
- residents of night shelters or hostels
- members of religious communities who have no income or savings (for example, monks and nuns)
- diplomats and their spouses, if not a British citizen
- people who are severely mentally impaired
- care workers employed via a charity or local authority
If all residents are full-time students or severely mentally impaired, the property will be exempt.
Note: People who qualify for discounts are still liable to pay the balance of the council tax that is due.
Generally full-time students are not liable for council tax. There are some exceptions to this eg an owner or tenant who is a full-time student but lives with a non-student who is not a joint owner or joint tenant.
Partners of full-time students
If a full-time student is married to someone from abroad, has a civil partner, or dependants from abroad, we may not count them for council tax purposes. Similarly, if their visa stops them working, claiming benefit or having `recourse to public funds’, then we may not count them for council tax purposes.
Your council tax can be reduced by the equivalent of one band if a disabled person lives at the property. Certain criteria would have to be met which includes either using a wheelchair indoors or having an extra room to meet the needs of the disabled person.
A discretionary reduction (care leavers’ reduction) will be awarded to any care leaver between the ages of 18 and 25, formerly in Hackney’s care, who lives in the borough and is liable to pay council tax, up to their 25th birthday.
The reduction will reduce the amount of council tax a care leaver will have to pay, after the deduction of any council tax reduction and any other national reliefs such as the single person discount, to nil.
From April 2014 if there is a dwelling that forms part of a single property and is being used by you as part of your sole or main residence or is the sole or main residence of a relative you may be entitled to a 50% discount on that dwelling.
If you own a property that no one lives in you may be entitled to a discount or exemption.
If your property is substantially unfurnished then you can apply for a 100% discount for up to 30 days.
If it remains empty for between 2 – 5 years owners will have a premium of 100% added to their bill. If it remains empty for more than 5 years owners will have a premium of 200% added to their bill, a 300% council tax charge.
There are circumstances when an unoccupied property would be exempt from council tax. See council tax exemptions below.
In addition to discounts and disabled band reduction, certain types of property are exempt from council tax and have nothing to pay. The following is a list of properties which are exempt from council tax – you should note that the explanations are for guidance only and should not be interpreted as legislative definitions.
Some of the exempt properties are subject to time restrictions and where this applies to a particular class of exemption it is stated within the explanation.
Please note: Owners of properties that remain empty for 2 years or more will have a premium of 100% added to their bill.
Apply for an exemption
If you believe that you should be receiving an exemption from council tax but it is not showing on your bill, please complete the form below. You can also contact us on 020 8356 3154 for advice on how to apply.
Severe mental impairment exemption
- download and print a copy of the severe mental impairment application form
If you are student, please complete this form. You will need to register for a One Account to access the form.
Unoccupied and unfurnished property that requires or is undergoing major repairs. This exemption has been abolished and has been replaced with a 25% discount for up to 12 months.
Unoccupied property owned by a charity and last used for charitable purposes. Can be granted for up to 6 months after the property first becomes unoccupied.
Unoccupied and unfurnished property. This exemption has been abolished and has been replaced with a discount of 100% for up to one month.
Unoccupied property where the sole liable person is being held in detention. Can be granted for the whole period the person is in prison/detention (including remand) provided no-one else lives in the property.
Unoccupied property which when last occupied was the sole or main residence of a single occupier who is now permanently resident in a hospital or care home.
Unoccupied property where probate or letters of administration have not yet been granted. Can also apply for up to 6 months after probate or letters of administration have been granted, providing the property remains unoccupied.
Unoccupied property which is prohibited by law from being occupied. (This includes planning restrictions).
Unoccupied property which is being held for occupation by a minister of religion.
Unoccupied property vacated by a sole liable person who has since been living elsewhere in order to receive care.
Unoccupied property vacated by a sole liable person who has since been living elsewhere to provide care to someone else.
Unoccupied property vacated by a sole liable person who is a student and who has left the property to live elsewhere in order to attend college or university.
Unoccupied property that has been repossessed by a bank/building society.
Student hall of residence.
Property occupied only by full-time students, certain non-British spouses of full-time students, and/or school-leavers.
Property owned by the Crown and used as armed forces accommodation.
Property used as visiting armed forces accommodation.
Property that falls under the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy.
Unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring.
Property that is only occupied by people under the age of 18 years.
Unoccupied annexe (to at least one other property) that cannot be let separately without breaching planning control.
Property occupied only by people who are severely mentally impaired and who would otherwise be liable to pay the council tax.
Property where a non-British diplomat who is not a permanent resident of the UK would otherwise be liable to pay the council tax.
Occupied annexe (to at least one other property) which is the sole or main residence of an elderly or disabled dependant relative.
If your bill shows you have received a reduction to which you are not entitled or your circumstances change so that you are no longer entitled, you must tell us within 21 days of the date on the bill. If you don’t, you may have to pay a penalty of £50.