Council Tax second homes

A second home is a property that is furnished but not used as someone’s sole or main residence.

How it works

If you have two homes, or two properties, you may have to pay for both of them, unless:

  • an exemption applies
  • somebody else has their sole or main residence in one of the properties
  • it is in use as a holiday let

A second home is a property that is furnished but not used as someone’s sole or main residence.

Furnished second homes and unoccupied furnished properties

We do not offer a discount for an unoccupied furnished property. If you have a furnished second home that is nobody's main residence you have to pay the full Council Tax charge.

If you live in a particular property because of your job, different rules may apply. If your main residence is somewhere else, the job related home may qualify for a 50% discount. If it is your main residence, your other home may qualify for the discount.

How to apply for a discount on your Council Tax

On 22 February 2024, Westmorland and Furness Council made a determination to charge a 100% Council Tax premium for furnished second homes and unoccupied furnished properties to start from 1 April 2025 (total Council Tax payable 200%).

Property being used as a holiday let

The rules regarding whether you will pay business rates changed on 1 April 2023 and now depend on how many nights your property is available to let each year and how many nights it was actually let.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will work out the rateable value of your property based on its type, size, location, quality and how much income you’re likely to make from letting it.

Rules from 1 April 2023

If your property is in England, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates if it’s both:

  • available to let for short periods for at least 140 nights in total over the current and previous tax years
  • actually let for at least 70 nights in the last 12 months

After your property has been available for letting for 140 days in the last 12 months, and has actually let for 70 days in the last
12 months your property can be rated, effective from the date on which both of these conditions are met. 

How to make a challenge on your Council Tax band

You can challenge your Council Tax band on the grounds that your property’s use has changed as it is now used for business.

Challenge your Council Tax Band on the GOV.UK website

After you have made a challenge

The Valuation Office Agency will notify us of any amendments following your challenge and revised bills will be issued at that time. Until such time your property will remain in the Council Tax list as a second home and you should continue to pay your Council Tax bill.

If your property is removed from the council tax list you will need to arrange for a trade waste collection service for the waste and recycling. 

Contact the Council Tax team