When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Paying rates on empty homes

If you own a property which is vacant you must still pay rates on it.  You should automatically receive a rates bill for any vacant properties you own.  Early payment discounts, which are available for occupied properties, will not be available for vacant dwellings. 

Some properties will be automatically excluded from rating and, in other cases, your empty property can be excluded from rating if it meets certain criteria and you make a successful application.  Application based and automatic exclusions will be granted 100% rate relief.

Automatic exclusions

If your property has a rateable capital value of under £20,000 the vacant property will be automatically excluded from rates.  You will not receive a rates bill for this type of property.

Application based exclusions

In some circumstances, you can apply for your vacant home to be excluded from rating.  If you apply for an exclusion, you must be able to provide evidence to support your claim.  You can apply for an exclusion in any of the following circumstances:

  • the empty home cannot legally be occupied,
  • the empty home cannot be occupied due to the actions of a public body (e.g. Environmental Health, NIHE),
  • the empty home is a listed building,
  • the owner of the empty home is the personal representative of a deceased person and owns the property in that capacity,
  • the owner of the empty home has been declared bankrupt,
  • the owner of the empty home is a trustee under a deed of arrangement
  • the owner is in residential care (nursing home, hospital, residential care) and the property was their main residence,
  • the owner is in detention and the property was their main residence,
  • the property has been accepted on the Housing Executive's Scheme for the Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings
  • the property has been occupied for at least four weeks, becasuse of severe flooding and the property owner has received a flood assistance grant in respect of the home from the local council (the exemption from rates will last for a maximum of six months).

To apply for an exclusion send a completed application form to Land & Property Services.