Council Tax

Who should pay Council Tax?

If you occupy a property as your main home, you are responsible for paying Council Tax.  If you’re under 18 you do not need to pay council tax.

The person liable to pay Council Tax

Generally, the person who is highest in the following list is liable to pay the Council Tax:

  • Resident freeholder, e.g. an owner occupier.
  • Resident leaseholder, e.g. an owner occupier who is paying a ground rent.
  • Resident statutory or secure tenant, e.g. a council or private tenant.
  • Resident licensee, e.g. the landlord of a public house who lives on the premises.
  • Other resident, e.g. a squatter.
  • Non-resident owner.

Joint and several liability

If there is more than one person fitting the description of the person liable, each person will be liable for the whole amount – not just a share of it.  This is called joint and several liability.

For example, if you rent a property with a friend, you may each decide to pay half the Council Tax. But if one of you fails to pay, the other person is liable to pay the full amount.

Married and unmarried couples

Husbands and wives and unmarried couples living together are liable to pay Council Tax even if only one of them owns or rents the property.  The bill will show all the names, although only one bill may be sent.

Empty properties

If the property is empty, the owner is responsible for paying the bill. You may be entitled to a 20 per cent reduction for 12 months if it's empty due to structural alterations or major repairs.

Properties which remain empty and unfurnished for two years will be charged an additional 50 per cent Empty Property Premium. [link to empty property discount/exemptions]

When the owner should pay the Council Tax

The owner, rather than the occupier, is liable to pay the Council Tax in the following special cases:

  • Houses in multiple occupation, e.g. groups of bedsits which share washing and cooking facilities.
  • Care and nursing homes together with some hostels.
  • Properties occupied only be religious communities.
  • Some second homes.
  • Some vicarages.
  • Properties occupied by asylum seekers.

Depending on your circumstances and those who live with you, you may be entitled to a Council Tax reduction or exemption.