Who Pays Council Tax

If you are over 18 and live in a property as your main home, you will have to pay council tax for that property.

We work out who has to pay by seeing who comes first in the following list:

  1. A freeholder(s) who lives in the property

  2. A leaseholder(s) who lives in the property

  3. A tenant who lives in the property

  4. Someone with a licence to live in the property

  5. Any other person (including squatters who live in the property)

  6. The non-resident Owner

If nobody lives in the property, the owner must pay council tax.This means that usually the person who owns and lives in the property or, if the owner doesn't live in the property, the tenant, must pay council tax. When a freeholder/leaseholder lives in a property with a lodger it is the freeholder/leaseholder that has to pay the council tax as they are higher in the list shown above.

What if I have more than one property?

You only have one property as your main home, even though your properties may be within the same borough or in different parts of the country. You can get discounts on the other properties, but it is up to the council to decide which is your main home - you cannot choose.

Joint liability

If more than one person owns or leases a property, they will be equally responsible for paying council tax. If you are the partner, whether married or not, of the person who has to pay council tax, you are also jointly responsible for payment.

Who is the owner?

The owner is the freeholder or appropriate leaseholder. If the owner does not live in the property, they will only have to pay council tax if nobody else lives in the property.

What if I think I don't have to pay council tax?

If you don't think you have to pay council tax, you should contact the council tax billing section first. If you are not happy with our response, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. (Opens in a New Window)