Who pays council tax?

Most homes are subject to Council Tax.

There is one bill per owned/rented home whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat.

To work out who is liable for your home (or "dwelling"), look down the list below for a description which applies to someone in your home. When you find a description that matches, that is the person responsible for the bill (the "liable person").

1 -  A resident freeholder (for owner-occupied property- the owner is liable)
2 - A resident leaseholder (this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988)
3 -  A resident statutory or secure tenant
4 - A resident licensee
5 - A resident
6 - The owner (this applies where the dwelling has no residents)

A "resident" is a person of 18 years or over who lives in the dwelling as their main or only home.

These rules mean that the owner-occupier(s) or resident tenant(s) usually has to pay the Council Tax. If the property is empty or is not anyone's main home, or if the people living there are under 18, the owner is responsible for the Council Tax.

The "main" home

If a person has more than one home or works away from home, it is important to determine where that person's main residence is. This is a major factor in deciding how much Council Tax is payable. For further details see Sole or Main Residence.

Joint and several liability

There can be more than one liable person. People who are joint owners or joint tenants are jointly and severally (i.e. individually) liable for the one Council Tax bill. Husbands and wives of liable people are also jointly responsible for paying the bill. This also applies to a man and a woman living together as husband and wife. Special rules apply where one of the liable people is severely mentally impaired.

Occupied and unoccupied dwellings

Council Tax is payable on both occupied and unoccupied dwellings. However, there are a number of discounts, reliefs and exemptions which apply to the Council Tax. In the case of exemptions, these particularly apply to unoccupied dwellings. For further details see Discounts.


Last reviewed: 20 - 06 - 2013

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