The Council Tax assumes that there are two or more residents in a dwelling, aged 18 years or over. If you are aged 18 years or over and live alone you may be entitled to a 25% discount.
Empty Properties and Second Homes
If a property is unoccupied and not considered to be the sole or main residence of any person aged 18 years or over it will be treated as either an Empty Property or a Second Home. Generally, these properties will only be eligible for a 10% discount of up to 12 months since the property was last occupied as someone's sole or main residence. The discount does not apply to any water or waste water charges.
For the purposes of Council Tax, the definition of a Second Home is ‘a property that is no-one’s sole or main residence but is furnished and lived in for at least 25 days during any 12 month period’.
For the purposes of Council Tax, the definition of an empty property is ‘a property that is no-one’s sole or main residence and is not a second home’.
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.
Empty property surcharge of 100%
From 1 October 2019, once a period of 12 months has passed since the property was last occupied, any discount will end and a Council Tax surcharge of 100% will become payable.
Unfurnished and unoccupied empty property
If a property is both unoccupied and unfurnished (all moveable furniture must be removed), it may be possible to qualify for exemption for up to 6 months from the date the property was last occupied, followed by 50% discount for up to another 6 months, after which the discount will end.
25% discount for other persons in household
When counting how many people reside in the dwelling we do not take account of certain categories of persons - for example, if there are two residents in a property and one is a full-time student you will still be entitled to a 25% discount. There are many other categories of persons that are not counted, including student nurses, apprentices, youth training trainees, care leavers, the severely mentally impaired, long term hospital patients, care workers, prisoners, people in residential care, or members of a religious community. For more information please refer to the discount information leaflet and discount application forms in the Related Downloads section of this page.
Further advice and information
More information is available in the Related Download and Related Links section of this page, including information about bringing empty properties back into use. You can also email the Revenues Team or telephone the Council on 01856 873535 Extension 2133, or Direct Dial 01856 886322.