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since 01 April my council have decided to reduce the usual 50% discount for council tax on empty but FURNISHED properties to 10% only. Seems quite ridiculous to me that an empty property gets a 10% discount but a property with one person living there has a 25% discount.

the 6 month total council tax exemption for unfurnished properties remains.

in general my voids periods are very short so I have always paid the 50% council tax for the odd few weeks a property is empty but now they want me to pay 90% I'm not so sure. I have spoken to a council tax supervisor about it who agrees it's a bit of a nonsense to charge more for an empty property than a one with a sole resident but there's nothing she can do - rules is rules. I have told her I will have to remove furniture during the void periods.

My plan going forward is to declare every property I own is unfurnished, keep the curtains drawn and physically remove sofas and beds if they are ever empty so long they end up needing to be inspected.

any thoughts? how do other people manage?

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I have furnished and unfurnished, I pay whats due (usually 90% for furnished) during any voids and comply with the law.

Fortunately my voids are short and for consolation I remind myself that:

* The council tax is itself tax deductable so, the real cost is not 90% of council tax but approx 72% & 54% depending on wether you pay tax at 20% or 40%.

* Fully furnished property has the option to claim 10% wear & tear tax allowance on gross rental income.....a generous allowance in my opinion. This usually more than compensates for any c/ tax payments.

* Furnished property, in my area, carries a small premium compared to unfurnished rents.

* Quality furnished property, in my area, generally is hard to find.......so I often have a queue of willing applicants.

I really couldn't be bothered to go to the trouble of removing items to save a few quid. There are lots of ther areas of your rental business that would probably generate bigger savings if you focused on the details.

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Don't leave the curtains up and drawn.......you will be classified as furnished. :D

I only do unfurnished with white goods and cooker. Too much hassle to do furnished (in the past)


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Count yourself lucky my local council as reduced the 50% dis to 0% - so 100% payable.

I had a meeting this mornong with an inspector to try to grt to the bottom of exactly what "substantially unfurnished" means ....answer depends on the inspector, and the property.

I know someone who was told if the y removed beds and sofas that if could be ddemed unfurnished & 100% exemption applied.

There is also a case in Cardiff waiting to go to tribunal ove a LL who stacked up all the furniture in one room and argued that the house was indeed "substantially unfurnished" ..it will be interesting he he can pull this off and set a precedent with it.

It is a complete nonsense that an MT prop is dearer than 1 person(25%) or 8 students (100% dis)

I suggested that i will be keting to a friend for a nominal £1 a month rent .just to looses the CT ...he may not spend a lot of time there !

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many thanks for all your speedy responses from a newbie.

I should really have asked the question "does anyone really know what the definition of unfurnished is?" but responses so far confirm what I thought, no legal definition and each council takes a different approach.

certainly won't be going down the unfurnished route as my main client group (young professionals) don't in general have any furniture and I think having nice fully furnished properties is why in general my void periods are days not weeks. Thank you Rich List for your comments and I guess I should take the same philosophical approach. just infuriates me to play ball with a council who told me me yes, it was illogical to grant less discount on an empty property than a full one, but it was being done as a revenue raising measure!

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