Who should pay Council Tax

The person who has to pay is called the “liable person”. The liable person is normally the person or persons who reside in the property as their sole or main home and who fit one of the below criteria:

  • residents who have a freehold interest in the property for example owner occupiers
  • residents who have a leasehold interest in the property for example lease holders
  • residents who are statutory or secure tenants for example rent payers
  • residents who have a contractual licence to occupy the property for example occupants of tied cottages
  • residents with no legal interest in the property
  • non-resident owners

The term ‘resident’ in this context refers to anyone over the age of 18 years who lives in the property as their main or only home. You cannot have more than one main home for Council Tax purposes. When determining whether a property is a person’s main residence, factors such as the amount of time spent there and whether it is their family home are considered. People living with a partner are jointly and severally liable, even if only one of them meets the liability rules.

Owner liability

There are some cases where the owner, not the resident, is liable for the bill. This would apply for:

  • residential care homes, nursing homes or hostels
  • houses of multiple occupation. e.g. a house shared by a number of different households who all pay rent separately
  • properties inhabited by religious communities (monasteries or convents)
  • properties occupied by resident or domestic staff
  • properties used by ministers of religion
  • properties occupied solely by asylum seekers

If the property is unoccupied, the owner is liable.

The term 'owner' in this context refers to any person who has a freehold or leasehold (material) interest in the whole or any part of a property which was granted for a period of 6 months or more.

Liability appeals

If you think you should not be liable for Council Tax, have been refused a discount or exemption to which you think you are entitled, you have the right of appeal. You should write to us. If you are unable to resolve your dispute directly with us, you should contact the Valuation Tribunal.