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Second home charges

The Scottish Government has introduced legislation with effect from 1 April 2024, which allows councils to increase Council Tax charges for second homes by 100% (double the standard Council Tax charge).

You can view the legislation at The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2023 (

A property is classed as second home if it is:

  • no one's sole or main residence
  • is furnished
  • is occupied for at least 25 days each year

If you own or are liable for Council Tax for a second home in East Ayrshire, you will be charged the second home premium (Council Tax charges will be doubled) from 1 July 2024. The increase does not apply to Scottish Water charges for water and waste water.

We will contact second home owners

We will contact all current second home owners by letter during the month of April for further information which will ensure our records are up-to-date. If you fail to respond, the premium will be applied from 1 July 2024 and a revised Council Tax bill will be issued.

New owner and property undergoing renovations

In certain circumstances, there may be a discretion not to apply the increase if the property is purchased by a new owner and they can produce evidence that it is undergoing repairs or renovations that contribute to the improvement of the property

A grace period will be applied for a maximum of six months.

If you think you may be entitled to this grace period you should telephone our customer contact team for more information.

Long-term empty property charges

The Council Tax (Variation for Unoccupied Dwellings) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 provides discretion for the Council to increase Council Tax by a levy of up to 100% for long term empty properties that have been unoccupied for more than 12 months, or  in some  circumstances more than 24 months.

The increase does not apply to Scottish Water charges for water and waste water.

From 1 October 2018, no exemptions or discounts will apply for a property that has been long-term empty for over 12 months. If the property is not undergoing structural repair or actively being marketed for sale or rent, then a levy charge of 100% of the Council Tax charge will be applied.

You will be charged additional Council Tax if your property:

  • is not a holiday home, purpose built holiday home or job related accommodation (subject to specific conditions)
  • has been unoccupied for over 12 months and:
    • is not being marketed for sale or rent
    • is not undergoing structural repairs

Where the property is purchased by a new owner on or after 1 April 2024, the grace period before the premium will be applied, has increased from three months to six months and will be applied automatically.

Contact Information


Revenues and Benefits
Civic Centre North
John Dickie Street
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 01563 554400