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Who is liable to pay Council Tax?

You usually have to pay Council Tax if you are 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 properties 
  • 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 are a tenant and think your landlord or somebody else should be paying Council Tax rather than you, you should contact your local council and seek advice.

Usually at least one person over 18 living at a property is liable to pay Council Tax. However, if you are 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
  • Mortgage in possession of an owner's interest, and then
  • An owner of the property where no one is resident. If you move in, your Council Tax liability is calculated on a daily basis.

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