What criteria do we use to decide a council tax completion date?
o ensure the accuracy of completion notices, council officers visit and review dwellings that are being built or altered. Evidence, such as photographs, is obtained to enable us to make the right decision.
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, 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.
In order to be considered and ready for banding, 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.
It is important to remember that a completion notice may be served up to three months in advance of the day on which the council specifies a property is complete. Therefore, whilst at the date when the notice is sent the property may well not be complete, the important date to bear in mind is the date that the council is specifying as the date of completion.