Borough Council of Wellingborough

Council tax discounts and exemptions

Discounts

The council tax demand assumes that there are two or more adults living in each property. If only one adult lives in the property, a single person discount of 25% can apply. We may need to decide where someone's main home is if, for example, they work away from home or have more than one home.

If we give you a discount, you must tell us about any changes in your circumstances which could affect your entitlement e.g. another adult joining the household. If you fail to do so, you may be required to pay a penalty.

When deciding how many adults are living in a property, the following are disregarded:

  • full-time students, student nurses, apprentices and Youth Training trainees
  • patients resident in hospital
  • people who are looked after in care homes 
  • people who are severely mentally impaired 
  • people staying in certain hostels or night shelters
  • 18 and 19 year olds who are at, or have just left, school
  • resident care-workers who work a minimum of 24 hours per week, and earn no more than £44 weekly
  • people caring for someone with a disability, who is not a partner or child under 18
  • diplomats, members of visiting forces and certain international institutions
  • members of religious communities
  • people in prison (except those in prison for non-payment of council tax or a fine)

People with disabilities

If you, or someone who lives with you, needs a room, an extra bathroom or kitchen, or use a wheelchair around the house because of your disability, you may be entitled to pay less council tax. The council tax charge may be reduced by a valuation band. A reduction can also be made if your home is in band A.

Exemptions

A property may be exempt from council tax.  Many of the exemptions are time restricted, after which they are not eligible for further reductions. If you own or occupy a property which is described on the right hand side of this page, and your bill does not show that an exemption has been granted, please contact the council for advice.

Properties are exempt when they are:

  • repossessed by the lender e.g. building society
  • held for charitable purposes and unoccupied for up to 6 months
  • unoccupied while the liable person is in prison
  • unoccupied because the person who would be liable is permanently resident in hospital or in a residential care home
  • unoccupied and held for a minister of religion
  • unoccupied and probate has not been granted or has been granted for less than 6 months
  • unoccupied because the liable person is away, giving or receiving care
  • unoccupied and previously occupied by students
  • unoccupied and undergoing structural alterations or major repair (up to six months) *please see definition below*
  • unoccupied and the responsibility of a bankrupt's trustee 
  • subject to a demolition order, compulsory purchase order or other prohibition of law
  • an unoccupied 'granny annexe'
  • an empty pitch or mooring
  • occupied entirely by students (including student halls of residence)
  • armed forces barracks and married quarters. Their occupants will contribute to the cost of local services through a special arrangement
  • occupied by at least one liable person who is a member of a visiting force
  • occupied only by residents under 18 years of age
  • occupied only by residents who are severely mentally impaired
  • occupied only by at least one liable person who is a foreign diplomat
  • 'granny annexes' occupied by a qualifying relative.

These categories are only broad descriptions of the available exemptions. Contact the council tax team for more information. Please remember, while you are waiting for the outcome of an application, you must continue to pay your current bill. 

Exemptions are reviewed at least once each year. We may ask you to provide information that helps us to do this. Failing to supply this information could mean any entitlement is cancelled.

If your bill shows that an exemption has been given, you must tell the council of any changes that affect your entitlement, within 21 days of the change.

Long-term empty properties

From 1 April 2013 properties which have been empty for longer than two years will be charged at 150% of the council tax for that property.

Major Repair Work or Structural Alterations

You may be entitled to an exemption of a maximum of 6 months from the date the property became unoccupied and substantially unfurnished providing the property is either:-

a) Undergoing major structural alterations or is

b) In need of major repair work

A property that does not involve major repair works or structural alterations will not qualify for this exemption.

If a property has been continuously unoccupied and substantially unfurnished and an exemption has previously been awarded during the period of ownership, the property will not be eligible for a further exemption.

What can be treated as major repairs is not defined by law but the Council will consider applications supported by a Structural Engineers report.  We will look at the extent of works, the time those works will take and any other obvious features of the work.

Replacement, refurbishment or modernisation would not qualify for an exemption because they are not classed as repairing the property. Minor repairs will also not qualify for an exemption. It is common for minor repairs or refurbishment to be carried out whilst people still live in the property.

If you are thinking about letting the property, you may think of uninhabitable as meaning unfit to let. However, the property may be in an acceptable condition to an owner/occupier.

When letting a property you must meet the Decent Homes Standard, please note this has no bearing on Council Tax regulations.

Please note that a property that is restricted from occupancy and is imposed by any Planning permission or the occupation is otherwise prohibited by law have a separate exemption class G and are not included in this discount.

Types of repair work and alterations not included

The following will not make a dwelling exempt:

  • Plastering
  • Re-wiring
  • Re-plumbing
  • Eradication of damp problems
  • Replacing a bathroom
  • Replacing a kitchen
  • Replacing flooring
  • Replacing doors and windows
  • Renewing pipes
  • Replacement roof and roof timbers.

Types of repair work and alterations included

  • Subsidence (where a building control application is required)
  • Major fire damage
  • Major flood damage
  • Major works to floorboards and joists (where a building control application is required)
  • Moving internal structural walls (where a building control application is required)
  • Re-constitution of the interior of the dwelling (e.g changing a house to flats)
  • Major extension which involves knocking through exterior walls

One of our Inspectors must see the repairs that are needed before works have started or at least before they are completed.

IMPORTANT:-

If you apply for the exemption after works are finished, it will not be granted.

The property must be in need of major repair works, supported by a Structural Engineers Report.

The structural works must be ‘in progress’, no exemption will be awarded whilst you are waiting for planning permission or undertaking works of a non-structural nature.