Council Tax legislation does not provide a definition of 'complete' in respect of new properties. However, it is generally taken to apply to a property that is weatherproofed (roof on and windows and doors fitted), plastered internally and having internal walls and stairs. The property does not have to be connected to utilities or have a bathroom and kitchen plumbed and fitted.
The criteria for determining completion for Council Tax purposes are substantially different to that for determining completion by Building Control. A property may still be considered complete for Council Tax purposes even if a Building Control certificate has not been issued.
The Council Tax Inspector will serve a completion notice on the owner of the property when s/he considers a property to be complete. This includes properties where any remaining works can be expected to be completed within 3 months.
The completion notice is a document that specifies the completion day and this is the day on which it becomes a property for Council Tax purposes. The Council notifies the Valuation Office Agency that the property needs to be entered on to the Valuation list as a 'chargeable' property.
What criteria is used to decide a completion date?
A property will be considered to have reached a stage of substantial completion when it meets the following criteria:
- The basic structure is complete, for example all external walls and roof in place.
- Internal walls are built (although not necessarily plastered).
- Floors laid (although the screed or top coat of concrete need not have been laid).
Many properties will have reached an advanced level of completion where, for example, ceilings are in place, walls have been plastered and second fixing may have commenced.
In these circumstances the amount of time allowed in the notice for full completion of the property may be quite short.
A property may be considered to be complete where the following types of work have not yet been finished:
- Internal decoration of the property.
- Final fitting of sanitary ware and kitchen units
- Final fitting of electrical plug points and switches
- Final connection of water, gas and electricity (although services should be laid on to the site).
What if a Property is Complete but Unoccupied?
New properties, whether newly constructed or created by conversion, which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished can receive a 25% discount for 6 months (from the date on which it is considered to be complete).
This discount expires if the property remains empty after 6 months and a full charge then becomes due. If the property is still empty after 2 years a 50% premium is added to the empty charge.
What if I disagree with the Completion Notice?
Information about how to appeal against a completion notice is shown on the 'Appeal Against A Council Tax Decision' page.
Last Updated on Monday, February 6, 2023