General guidance

The information on this page is general guidance. It is not a substitute for the relevant statutes and regulations.

What is a completion notice?

A completion notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date' for new properties. It is the date on which the property becomes a dwelling for Council Tax purposes and is entered into the valuation list.

Where a domestic property is complete or is expected to be within 3 months, a completion notice will be issued to the 'owner' of the property. If work on a property is not yet completed, the completion notice can be served specifying the final completion date for the property.

How do we decide a completion date?

Council officers visit and review dwellings that are being built or altered to gather evidence, in order to make the right decision.

The council considers a property to have reached a stage of substantial completion when:

  • The basic structure is complete (for example all external walls and roof in place)
  • Internal walls are built (but may not be plastered)
  • Floors laid (although the screed or top coat of concrete need not have been laid)
  • Internal stairs installed (this can be a temporary staircase)

Many properties may have reached an advanced level of completion, 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 completion for Council Tax purposes are different to that for completion for Building Control - it is not relevant if building control certificates have been issued or not.

A completion notice may be served up to three months before the day that the council specifies a property is complete. The important date is the date that the council specifies as the date of completion.

What if a property is complete but not occupied?

If the property is complete, the council will serve a completion notice on the owner as soon as able.

New properties, which are not occupied and unfurnished will be subject to a full charge when brought onto the Council Tax list.

What if a property is occupied?

A new/altered dwelling 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?

If you don't agree with a completion notice you should appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice to the Valuation Tribunal Service.

Valuation Tribunal contact details:

Valuation Tribunal Service,
2nd Floor,
120 Leman Street,
E1 8EU

Telephone: 0300 123 2035

Your appeal must be made in writing stating the grounds for it and should be accompanied by a copy of the completion notice that has been issued to you. If you feel we have made an error and want to discuss the completion date please email stating your reason and provide evidence, or call 01444 477137 / 477140.

Please note that build delays, for whatever reason, will not generally be taken into account.

Last updated: 22 August 2023