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Who pays Council Tax

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home.

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home. Married couples, partners and joint owners or tenants are jointly liable to pay Council Tax, unless we don’t count them for Council Tax (eg if they’re a student or severely mentally impaired). You may get a discount if you live with people that we don't count for Council Tax.

You’ll only get one bill that will show all the names.

You’ll have to pay Council Tax if you’re the first to appear on this list as:

  • an owner-occupier
  • a tenant
  • a licensee eg a landlord of a public house who lives on the premises
  • a resident (including squatters) 
  • a non-resident owner

If you own a property

The owner has to pay Council Tax if the property is:

  • a house in multiple occupation, where the residents have separate leases or licences, and only occupy or pay rent for part of the property (eg bedsit with shared facilities)
  • a residential care home or nursing home
  • a religious community, such as a monastery
  • a hostel or night shelter
  • a house occupied by asylum seekers in most cases

Also, when a property is empty the owner normally has to pay Council Tax, unless the property is exempt.

If you’re a tenant in a shared property

If you share a property with other people, the person who should pay Council Tax will depend on the type of tenancy agreement you have.

If you’ve signed a joint tenancy agreement, then the people named on the agreement who live at the property will be jointly and individually responsible to pay the whole bill. This means that you’re not just responsible for your share of the bill, but for making sure the whole bill is paid. If the bill isn't paid, we can ask anyone named on it to pay the whole amount.

Not all joint tenants are counted for Council Tax. If you’re a joint tenant but not counted for Council Tax, you will not be liable to pay. However, if all joint tenants are not counted for Council Tax then you will all be liable to pay.

You may get a discount if you live with people we don’t count for Council Tax.

If you and the other people at the property have individual tenancy agreements with the landlord or the property has been adapted making it suitable for multiple occupation, eg locks on bedroom doors, then the property is a house in multiple occupation and the landlord should pay the Council Tax.

If you’re the landlord of a house in multiple occupation (HMO)

A HMO is a house or flat that was originally built or has been converted to be lived in by people who are not part of the same household.

One example of a change is where the rooms have individual locks on the doors.

Examples of HMOs include bedsits, halls of residence and hostels.

If each person who lives there pays rent separately or has an agreement that only lets them occupy a part of the property, we’ll class the property as a HMO. The amount of rent a tenant pays will also help us to decide if the property is a HMO. 

The Council Tax bill must stay in your name.

Page last updated: 22 February 2022


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