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 homes discount

For unoccupied and unfurnished properties, a discount of 100% is available for one calendar month from the date that the property first became unoccupied and unfurnished. After this date, the full Council Tax charge becomes due.

If you buy or rent a property that is already empty and unfurnished, then the previous owner or landlord may have already been granted the discount, so you may not be eligible for the 1 month discount.

Properties that require major repairs will be charged at the full Council Tax level from the date they become vacant.

Properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished in excess of two years will be subject to an additional premium charge of 100%. Properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 5 years will be subject to a premium charge of 200%. Properties which have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 10 years will be subject to a premium charge of 300%.

You must notify us within 21 days if you believe that the premium charge does not apply.

Second home reductions

Certain second homes are eligible for a 50% reduction on their Council Tax bill.

  • The council tax payer lives elsewhere in job-related accommodation specified by the terms and conditions of their contract, for example: caretakers, ministers of religion or members of the armed forces.  This does not apply to second homes that are rented because they are convenient for work.
  • Homes that are pitches or moorings occupied by caravans or boats
  • A planning restriction means you’re unable to occupy the property for at least 28 continuous days a year

Please contact us via online chat if you think you may qualify for any of these discounts.

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 discount or exemption.

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