Who has to pay council tax

Anyone living in a property who is 18 and over is normally responsible for the council tax, for example:

  • if the owners live in the property, they are responsible for the council tax
  • if tenants live in the property, they are responsible for the council tax
  • if someone has a licence to occupy the property, they will be responsible for council tax

For more information on who has to pay council tax, see GOV.UK - council tax.

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, is responsible for payment. These are:

  • houses in multiple occupation (where 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

Tenant and landlord responsibility

Tenant responsibility

Tenants are responsible for council tax when the whole of the property is rented to one person, family, or to joint tenants.

The bill will be sent to the tenants.

A tenant may be held liable for council tax for the full period of their tenancy, even if they have not yet occupied or have vacated the property.

Landlord responsibility

A landlord is responsible for council tax when the property is rented out to several people, and they each have an individual tenancy agreement to occupy only part of the building.

This bill will be sent to the landlord.

A landlord will be liable for council tax for any period the property is unoccupied and a tenancy agreement is not in place.

Data privacy

We cannot give out information about any council tax account that does not belong to you regardless of whether you own the property.

Disagreement with liability

If you feel that you are not responsible for paying, or that you should receive a discount or exemption, contact us as soon as possible.

In the case of disagreement, you can appeal to the Independent Valuation Tribunal.

Contact information

Revenue services