New Properties and Completion Notices
What is a Completion Notice?
A Completion Notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date' for newly built properties (or where created by alteration). It is the date on which the property becomes a dwelling for Council Tax purposes, and is the date it is entered into the Valuation List. This may be prior to a completion notice issued by the planning or building control department.
Where a domestic property is structurally complete, or where the work remaining can reasonably be expected to be completed within 3 months, a Completion Notice will be served on the 'owner' of the property. The 'owner' is defined as the 'person entitled to possession'.
Where work on a property is not yet completed, the Completion Notice can be served specifying the final completion day of up to three months from the date of service, for the remaining works for the completion of the property to be carried out.
What if a property is complete but unoccupied?
New properties, whether newly constructed or created by conversion, which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished are not exempt from Council Tax, and are subject to the full charge.
The effective date of the full charge is the date when it is deemed to be complete as determined by the Completion Notice issued by the Council, in accordance with Section 17 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.
What criteria is used to determine a completion date?
To ensure the accuracy of the Completion Notice, Council Officers will visit and review dwellings that are being built or altered. Evidence such as photographs, is obtained in order for the right decision to be made.
The Council will consider a property to have reached a stage of substantial completion when it meets the following criteria:
- The basic structure is complete and weatherproofed, 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 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.
In order to be considered complete, the following work does not need to have been carried out:
- 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).
The criteria for determining completion for Council Tax purposes are substantially different to that for determining completion for Building Control therefore whether building control certificates have been issued or not is not directly relevant.
What if the property becomes occupied?
A new or altered property does not require a Completion Notice once someone starts to live there. The date used to enter onto the Council Tax list will be the date of occupation.
What if I disagree with the Completion Notice?
The regulations specify that if you disagree with a Completion Notice you should appeal within 28 days of the date of service of the notice to the Valuation Tribunal.
However, you can contact us in the first instance setting out the reasons why you disagree with the date of completion. Once we have received your enquiry we may ask for further information, and will advise you of our decision as soon as possible, to allow you sufficient time to appeal further if you wish. A revised Completion Notice will be issued, if appropriate.
For further information regarding the appeals process see Completion Notice Appeals