Property Discounts

This section gives information on different types of discount you can apply for

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Second Home & Long Term Empty Property Discounts

The initial bill for a property assumes that there are least two permanent residents aged 18 years or over in the property and a full charge for Council Tax, Water and Sewerage is levied. While there is no extra charge if there are more than two residents, a discount will apply where there are no permanent residents.

The Council Tax (Discount for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 allow local authorities to modify the amount of discount awarded to certain classes of dwelling, accordingly with effect from 1st April 2005 to 31st March 2017 the discount due in respect of Second Homes and Holiday Homes is 10%.  From 1st April 2017 the Scottish Government introduced new legislation which allows Local Authorities to end the council tax discount on Second Homes, accordingly from 1st April 2017 the discount on second homes has been removed.

The discount due in respect of Long Term Empty (unfurnished and unoccupied) Dwellings has also been amended from 50% to 10% with effect from 1st April 2012.

In certain circumstances a 50% discount may still apply for a period of time.
An 'empty dwelling' is defined as a dwelling, which is both unoccupied and unfurnished.
A 'long term empty dwelling' is a property that has been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 12 months.

A 'second home' is defined as a dwelling, which is no one's sole or main residence and is not an empty dwelling i.e. it is an unoccupied and furnished dwelling.

Unoccupied dwellings

Prior to 1st April 2005, where a dwelling was unoccupied but furnished and was no one's sole or main residence, a 50% discount applied. From 1st April 2005, the discount reduced to 10%. This charge will apply to periods between tenants for private furnished lets.

From 1st April 2012, where an unoccupied and unfurnished property exemption has ended and the dwelling continues to be unoccupied and unfurnished, a 50% discount can be granted for the next 6 months. If the dwelling continues to remain unoccupied and unfurnished after that time, a long term empty property levy of 30% will apply unless the property is being marketed for sale or rent in which case a 10% discount may apply for a period of 12 months.

Dwellings under repair

There is no change to the way that exemptions are awarded, when properties are undergoing or have undergone, since the last occupation day, major repair work to render it habitable; or is undergoing or has undergone, since the last occupation day, structural alteration.

However from 1st April 2012, where someone has recently purchased an unoccupied dwelling which is either undergoing or requires major repair work to render it habitable; or is undergoing structural alteration, and the maximum period of exemption has expired, a 50% discount can be awarded for 6 months if the liable person purchased the property within the last 6 months.

Once this 6 month period ends, the discount will reduce to 10%. Where the liable person has not purchased the property within the last 6 months, the maximum amount of discount that can be awarded is 10%.

Purpose built holiday homes

A 50% discount is awarded for those dwellings classed as 'purpose built holiday homes'. This is a dwelling which is used for holiday purposes; and which either -

  1. In accordance with any license or planning permission regulating the use of the site, or for any other reason, is not allowed to be used for habitation throughout the whole year; or
  2. By reason of its construction or the facilities which it does, or does not, provide, is unfit so to be used.

Second properties owned or rented by someone living in job related dwellings

A job related home is one that you must live in as part of your contract of employment; or you need to live in for you to properly perform your duties, or it is the kind of job where it is normal for a home to be provided and you will be able to perform your duties better, or where you live in the home because of a threat to your security and you have a special security arrangement.

A 50% discount will be awarded in respect of second properties owned or rented by someone living in certain job related dwellings; eg clergy.

Note: From 1st April 2006, where a property is not the sole or main residence of any person, discount will not be granted in respect of any water and/or sewerage charges.

You can apply for a property discount by downloading and completing an application form.


Page last updated: 4 February 2020