Who is liable to pay Council Tax

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You have to pay council tax if you're over 18 or over and own or rent a home.

While council tax is normally paid by the person living in a property, there are a few circumstances where the owner is responsible for paying council tax.

These include:

  • Empty homes.
  • Nursing homes and other similar homes.
  • Houses of religious communities.
  • Houses in multiple occupation (where rooms are let individually).
  • Residences of staff who live in houses which are also occupied by an employer.
  • Residences of ministers of religion.

If you're living with someone as a couple, whether you are married, cohabiting or in a civil partnership, you are responsible for the bill as a couple but also individually, regardless of whose name is on the bill.

If a number of people live in a property, there is a process for determining the order of liability.

The order goes as follows:

  • A resident owner-occupier who is the freeholder of all or part of the property,
  • A resident owner-occupier who is the leaseholder of all or part of the property,
  • A resident tenant,
  • A resident who lives in the property and who is not a tenant, but has permission to stay there,
  • Any other resident living in the property,
  • A mortgagee in possession of an owner’s interest, and then
  • An owner of the property where no one is the resident
  • If you move in, your council tax liability is calculated on a daily basis


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