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Uninhabitable properties

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A discount of 25% is available for up to 12 months, if a property is:

  • unoccupied,
  • substantially unfurnished and
  • needs or is undergoing major repairs (including structural alteration) to make it suitable to live in

The 25% discount is a fixed rate set by the Council.

What can be treated as major repairs?

This is not defined by law. However, the Council can consider:

  • the cost and extent of works required to make the property habitable,
  • the time those works would take and
  • any other obvious features of the works

The following types of repairs are included:

  • Major fire or flood damage
  • Major repairs to roof structures
  • Rebuilding defective chimney stack(s)
  • Rebuilding external walls, for example to extend the property
  • Repair/renewal of foundations
  • Underpinning substandard foundations
  • Replacing defective solid floors
  • Replacing defective floor joists
  • Gutting the property, including removing most internal walls (not stud/partition walls)
  • Replacing defective ceiling joists
  • Rebuilding defective walls (not stud/partition walls)

The uninhabitable discount is not intended to cover situations where a property has outdated features, fittings and fixtures. 

Replacement, refurbishment or modernisation of the following would be unlikely to lead to a discount. However, if the property was in severe disrepair, then, as part of a combination of works, they may be considered as major repairs:

  • Timber or damp-proof treatments
  • Rewiring throughout
  • Replastering throughout
  • Replacement windows
  • Installation of central heating
  • Replacement of kitchen and bathroom

Minor repairs and/or redecoration will not count. Quite often refurbishment works are carried out whilst a property is still lived in. It is important for landlords or those intending to let property to note this. Although you may think that ‘uninhabitable’ means ‘unfit to let’, the condition of the property may be acceptable to an owner occupier. 

How long does the discount last?

The discount period lasts for a maximum of 12 months and starts from when the property became uninhabitable, and

  • in need of major repair, or
  • when the structural alterations began

The property must remain unoccupied AND substantially unfurnished throughout the discount period.

Only one 12 month discount can be awarded while the property is being repaired/undergoing structural alteration, even if the property is sold to a new owner.

Only after the property has been reoccupied, and if a new event were to occur (e.g. a fire or flood), could a further discount be considered.

What is meant by substantially unfurnished?

When there is insufficient furniture in the property so that habitation is not possible. For example, a wardrobe might be acceptable as substantially unfurnished, but a sofa or beds would not.

Evidence of major repairs or structural works 

Evidence of repair work required, or being undertaken, needs to be supplied. This includes surveyors’ reports, builder's estimates, grants applications, photos, invoices etc. Our Inspector may need to visit the property. If an appointment is necessary, they will contact you.

To make a request for an uninhabitable discount please complete the online form.

Contact Details

Council Tax,
Ipswich Borough Council,
1W Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,
Ipswich,
IP1 2DE

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01473 432000