Council tax completion notices

A completion notice gives the completion date for newly built/altered properties. This is the date from which council tax will be payable and the property is entered into the valuation list.

We serve completion notices to the owner (person entitled to possession) of new properties, or on properties that have had substantial, structural alterations if:

  • a domestic property is structurally complete
  • where the work remaining can reasonably be expected to be completed within three months

If work on a property is not completed, a completion notice can be served specifying the final completion day of up to three months from the date it is served, if the remaining works to complete the property are expected to be carried out in that time.

The criteria for a property being complete for council tax purposes is different to a property being complete for building control. Building control certificates do not have to be issued for a council tax completion notice to be issued.

How is a completion notice date decided?

We will consider a property to be substantially completed if;

  • the basic structure is complete, for example all external walls and roof are 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).

The following work does not need to have been carried out for a completion notice to be served;

  • internal decoration of the property, including the fitting of internal doors
  • final fitting of bathroom and kitchen units
  • final fitting of electrical fixtures, plug points and switches
  • final connection of water, gas and electricity (although services should be laid on to the site).

Case law

There is no council tax legislation that gives a definition of ‘complete’ for new properties. Sometimes we will refer to case law to make a decision.

Hyde v Suffolk Coastal CCRO

In the case of Hyde v Suffolk Coastal CCRO, the tribunal accepted the registration officer's argument that although a property did not have a bathroom, it should be subject to the standard community charge and remain in the class for furnished properties.

Horsford v Calderdale CCRO

The property in Horsford v Calderdale CCRO had no bathroom or inside toilet, and required a new electrical circuit. There was a lead pipe water supply and no central heating and the plaster was loose on the first floor walls and ceilings. The tribunal was satisfied that the repairs were not of a structural nature and that the property was subject to the standard charge.

Aldred v Rochford CCRO and Everitt v Rochford CCRO

The appellants in Aldred v Rochford CCRO and Everitt v Rochford CCRO maintained that the properties were not in a condition to allow a standard charge to be levied. In the first case, the property was without gas, electricity and water and the appellant maintained he did not benefit from any services from the district council. He also maintained that he ought to have a three months period free from 1st April. The registration officer referred to S62(6) Community Charge Enforcement Regulations 1989, and maintained that as the property had been unoccupied since June 1988, a standard charge multiplier of 2 was correct.

In the Everitt case, the appellant maintained that the property was not capable of habitation as the cesspool drainage serving the property had been badly damaged by the storms in October 1987

Evidence was produced by the environmental services department for the Council, stating that the works to the cesspit did not render the property unfit for habitation. In both cases, the tribunals were satisfied that the appeals should be dismissed.

Appealing against a completion notice

If you disagree with a completion notice, you can contact us first and let us know the reasons why you disagree so that we can decide if a change should be made. We might ask you for more information and will let you know our decision as soon as possible so that you have enough time to make an appeal. A revised completion notice will be issued, if necessary.

Appeals are made to the Valuation Tribunal for Wales and must be made within 28 days of the date that the completion notice was served.

Visit the Valuation Tribunal for Wales website (external website)

Awaiting the outcome of an appeal

If you are awaiting the outcome of an appeal against a completion notice, under council tax regulations;

  • Normal payments, as stated on the bill are required to be paid
  • Reminders, summons and full council tax recovery measures can be taken for any unpaid sums due.

When the outcome of an appeal has been decided, any changes will be taken into account at that time.

Unoccupied properties

Unoccupied properties can receive a 100% discount or 50% extra charge depending on whether they are furnished or unfurnished.  

Unoccupied and unfurnished

New properties, whether newly constructed or created by conversion, that are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished can receive a 100% discount for the first six months.

View the council tax discounts and exemptions page for more information.

Unoccupied and furnished

You will be charged council tax from the date you substantially furnish an unoccupied property. A 50% Council Tax Premium will be charged for a property which is substantially furnished but unoccupied.

Find out more about the Council Tax Premium

Occupied properties

A new or altered property does not need a completion notice once someone starts to live there. The occupier will be liable for council tax from the date they move in and may be entitled to a discount or exemption.

Let us know if someone has moved into a property

More information

You can contact us if you would like more information about completion notices.