Premiums and second homes

Council Tax Premiums

Milton Keynes City Council charges a premium on long-term empty dwellings. These are homes that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for at least one year. The one-year period starts from the date the property first became empty. It does not restart if there is a change of owner.

This premium is in addition to your normal Council Tax charge.

Following the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, there has been a revision to the definition of properties classified as long-term empty and unoccupied. The charge was agreed by Council Members and was introduced to encourage bringing properties back into use.

Starting from 1 April 2024, properties that have been empty and unfurnished or remain empty and unfurnished for a period exceeding one year will incur an additional premium on their council tax.

Details of Milton Keynes City Council charging policy for empty properties and second homes can be found in the Council Tax Empty Homes policy.

Long term empty property criteria to additional Council Tax premiums  Percentage increase
Properties which remain empty up to 1 year None
Properties which remain empty between 1 and 5 years 100%
Properties which have remained empty between 5 and 10 years 200%
Properties which have remained empty for more than 10 years 300%

If your property falls into the category above, the premium charge will be included in your annual council tax bill.

Prior to 1st April 2024 a premium was applied to properties vacant for a period exceeding two years. 

Reset Period

When a property is reoccupied, the premium is no longer due. However, if the property becomes vacant again before the reset period (six weeks) has passed, the premium will be applicable once more immediately. If the property remains occupied beyond the reset period, an additional year must elapse before a premium can be imposed again.

Empty Properties

If you own an empty property, you still have to pay the full council tax on that property. For the first year that your property is empty, you pay the same amount of council tax that you'd pay if the property was occupied.

If the property has been empty and unfurnished for more than one year, your property will be subject to the above premiums.

Empty and Furnished properties that have been unoccupied for over one year remain subject to full council tax.

A discount of 100% may apply for a maximum of 14 days if the property is empty and unfurnished but the period of discount is not re-started by a change in ownership or liability.

In some circumstances, you can be exempt from payment of Council Tax.  For full details go back to our discounts, exemptions and premiums webpage.

Second Homes

In most circumstances the above conditions will apply to Second Homes if unfurnished. If you have more than one home, we will need to determine where your main residence is located. We may ask you questions to determine your place of residence for Council Tax purposes.

If you are contractually required to live elsewhere as part of your employment, then you may be eligible for a 50% discount. You will need to provide a copy of your employment contract confirm this.

If you think you are entitled to this reduction you should email us at

You will not be subject to a premium charge if your supporting evidence confirms this.

Other exemptions where you will not be subject to the premium charge include unoccupied annexes or you leave your property unoccupied due to your employment with the armed forces.

Premium Exceptions

Under certain circumstances the council will consider exceptions where a long-term empty property may not have to pay a Council Tax Premium. These exceptions are:

  1. The property is being actively marketed for sale or let
  2. The property is empty and undergoing major repairs
  3. The property has undergone probate 

This means, if the exception is agreed, you will pay the standard rate of Council Tax for up to 12 months before the premium is added to your Council Tax account.   

Apply for a Premium Exception

Each application will be considered on its individual merits, ensuring equal and fair treatment throughout the administration of this scheme. Exceptions will not be considered without completing this application. 

If your circumstances change

If any of your circumstances change and the premium should no longer be applied, you will need to let us know as soon as possible. You must continue to pay as instructed until you are issued with a new bill. The guidance below will help you determine the best course of action.

The premium should no longer be applied because: Action Required:
You think you will qualify for a reduction in council tax You will need to apply for the discount or exemption according to your circumstances.
You have moved into the property

You will need to contact us to tell us you have moved into the property. If you want us to consider removing the premium, you need to provide evidence of the date the change took place.

Someone else has moved into the property You will need to notify us that someone has moved into the property. This can be done through our online form.
For any other reasons If none of the above conditions apply, but you are of the opinion that you should not be liable for the premium, please email us with any supporting evidence at

Council Tax contact information

Revenues Service, PO Box 5327, Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Central Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ