Council Tax - charges on empty properties and second homes

Empty properties

For Council Tax purposes an empty property is “a property that is no one’s sole or main residence and is not a second home”. This includes both furnished or unfurnished properties.

You can apply for a Council Tax discount of 10%, which from 1 October 2019, will last for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied. The discount will not apply to any water or waste water charges.

Empty property surcharge of 100%

From 1 October 2019, once a period of 12 months has passed since the property was last occupied, a Council Tax surcharge of 100% will become payable (the surcharge will not apply to any water or waste water charges). There are instances where the surcharge will be delayed and the standard empty property discount of 10% will remain in place, for a limited period, as follows:

Empty property exemptions

Some empty properties may qualify for an exemption and do not have to pay Council Tax for a period of time. For more information please see the Related Downloads and Related Links section of this page.

Getting advice to bring an empty property back into use

For advice on all aspects of getting an empty home back into use a great starting point is the Orkney Empty Homes Advice Pack. If you want any further information or advice regarding Empty Homes Development or would like to contact the Council's Empty Homes Development Officer please see the Related Links section of this page.

Second Homes

For Council Tax purposes a second home is a property that is “no ones’ sole or main residence but is furnished and evidence is produced to establish that it is lived in for at least 25 days during any 12 month period”.

You can apply for a Council Tax discount of 10% which, from 1 October 2019, will last for up to 12 months from the date the property was last occupied as someone’s sole or main residence. The discount will not apply to any water or waste water charges.

If the property is not lived in for at least 25 days in any 12 month period, the property will instead be treated as an empty property and subject to the empty property surcharge of 100%.

There are a small number of empty properties and second homes that are entitled to receive a discount of 50%. From 1 April 2019, this may include a second home where a person’s sole or main residence in Orkney is separated from their place of work by a body of water, the transport provision over which does not permit daily commuting between their sole or main residence and their place of work, and they occupy a second home in Orkney to enable them to maintain that employment.

Further information

More information on empty property discounts, exemptions and surcharges is available in the Related Links section of this page.

Related Links

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

Email: customerservice@orkney.gov.uk

Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS