Council tax - who is liable to pay

There is one council tax bill for each domestic property. The owner-occupier or a resident tenant (including a council tenant) will usually have to pay the tax.

The person who is responsible for the payment will be the person with the main interest in the property, and who comes highest out of the following:

  • a resident freeholder, such as an owner-occupier
  • a resident leaseholder
  • a resident statutory or secure tenant, such as a council tenant or a private tenant
  • a resident licensee
  • a resident without any legal title
  • the owner of the property where there are no residents

A ‘resident’ is a person of 18 years or over who lives in the property as their sole or main residence.

The ‘owner’ is the person with the freehold interest in the property, or who has a lease of six months or more.

Joint responsibility

Joint responsibility exists for:

  • people who are joint owners or joint tenants
  • husbands and wives
  • civil partners
  • people living together

Even though there may be joint responsibility for payment, a bill may be addressed in just one name.

Owner responsibility

There will be properties where the owner, rather than the residents, will be responsible for payment. These are:

  • houses in multiple occupation, where the residents do not form a single household and pay their rent separately for different parts of the property
  • residential care or nursing homes, and some types of hostels which provide care
  • religious communities
  • properties which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
  • properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the duties of office are performed
  • properties provided to certain asylum seekers

If you feel that you are not the person liable to pay, or that you should receive a discount or exemption, please contact us without delay.

There is an appeal process to the independent Valuation Tribunal in the case of disagreement.

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