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Completion notice

What is a completion notice?

A completion notice is a document that specifies the 'completion date' for newly built properties. It is the date the property becomes a dwelling for council tax purposes, and is the date it is entered into the valuation list

The completion notice is issued in accordance with Schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and Section 17 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

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 a final completion day up to three months from the date of service; this should reflect the additional time reasonably required to complete the work on the property.

Legislation does not provide a definition of 'complete' in respect of new properties and therefore it is up to each local authority to determine their own policy.

What criteria does Hillingdon Council use to decide a completion date?

Substantially complete

To ensure the accuracy of our completion notices, the council's inspectors visit and review properties that are being built or altered. Evidence, such as photographs, is obtained to enable the council to make the right decision.

A property will be considered to have reached a stage of substantial completion when it meets the following criteria:

Shell and core:

  • all external walls are complete
  • roof tiles are laid
  • ceilings are in place
  • floors have been laid
  • staircase(s) have been fitted
  • external doors fitted
  • windows fitted
  • permanent availability of gas/electric/water is laid up to the property (but not necessarily connected)

First fix

The position from foundation up to plastering:

  • cutting and laying of joists
  • erecting studwork and partitioning
  • fixing door linings
  • fixing window boards
  • assembling and erecting staircase(s)
  • plasterboards
  • fixing cable network around shell

Many properties will have reached an advanced level of completion where, for example, 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.

From the point of Second Fix, Hillingdon Council would consider the property as being substantially complete.

Second fix:

  • external doors
  • fixing of skirting, architraves and decorative mouldings
  • finishing off staircases and balustrade
  • installation of power points
  • boxing in - waste runs and sanitary ware
  • radiators and boilers
  • guttering and down pipes

In order to be considered ready for banding, the following work does not need to have been carried out:

  • internal decoration of the property, including the fitting of internal door
  • 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 a building control certificate has been issued or not, is not directly relevant.

A completion notice may be served up to three months in advance of the day on which the council specifies that 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. 

What if a property is complete but not occupied?

If the property is complete but not occupied the council will serve a completion notice on the owner as soon as is reasonably practicable. A completion notice cannot be backdated, even if the property has been completed for some time. 

New properties, whether newly constructed or created by conversion, which are unoccupied and substantially unfurnished will be subject to a 100% discount for 21 days when it is brought into the council tax list.

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.

Can a completion notice be backdated?

No, a notice and completion date can only be with immediate effect or up to three months in advance of the premises becoming structurally complete.

How will the completion notice paperwork be issued?

By post to the home address or registered address of the 'owner'.

What happens if I cannot complete the building work by the completion date due to financial or personal reasons?

Legislation does not allow us to take financial or personal factors into consideration for the purposes of setting a completion date. The property need not be structurally complete by the completion date, only capable of completion.

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 Service. However, in the first instance you can write to the council 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 necessary. 

For further information please contact counciltax@hillingdon.gov.uk

Appealing against completion notices Contact: Valuation Tribunal Service, 2nd Floor, 120 Leman Street, London, E1 8EU 

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 04 Apr 2017 at 10:15