all council tax has been announced today by local government and
housing minister Hilary Armstrong.
Responding to a parliamentary question, Ms Armstrong said:
dwellings is the cost of owning them is relatively low. At present,
there is no council tax at all for the owners of dwellings which
require or are undergoing major repair works or structural
'Long term empty properties create extra costs for councils because
they can encourage vandalism, crime, accumulation of rubbish, vermin
and a general nuisance. Exempt from council tax, the owners do not
make a contribution towards these costs and they also benefit from
other locally provided services like police and fire services.
'The government does not believe this is justified where a dwelling
has been exempt for more than a year.
'We have, therefore, amended the council tax regulations so that from
1 April 2000, any dwelling in England and Wales requiring or
undergoing major repair works or structural alterations which has
been exempt for more than a year, will be subject to the standard 50%
council tax attracted by other unoccupied dwellings.'
The Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 exempts certain classes
of dwelling from council tax. Class A exempts vacant dwellings
(dwellings which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished) which
require or are undergoing major repair works to render them
Class A also exempts dwellings which are undergoing structural repair
works which have not been substantially completed. There is no time
limit in which to commence repair works or to complete the repair
works once started. Once structural alterations are underway there is
no time limit in which to complete the alterations before the
exemption expires. This means there are no council tax costs incurred
when owning an empty home which requires or are undergoing repairs or
The Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 1999, SI
No. 1522, limits the period of exemption to one year after which the
standard charge for unoccupied dwellings will apply regardless of
whether the repairs or structural alterations have been completed.
In Wales, as from 1 July 1999, this matter will be the responsibility
of the National Assembly for Wales.