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Who has to pay Council Tax

There is a strict hierarchy of who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on a chargeable dwelling (property).

The person responsible for the Council Tax on a property will be the person who comes first on the following list. 

  • A resident of the property who has a freehold interest.
  • A resident of the property who has a leasehold interest.
  • A resident who is a statutory or secure tenant.
  • A resident who has a contractual licence to occupy the property.
  • A resident of the property.
  • The owner of the property.

A resident means any individual who is 18 years old or over and has their sole or main residence in the property.

An owner means a person with a 'material interest' in the property, such as a freeholder or leaseholder.

Joint and several liability

Where two or more residents have an equal interest, such as joint owners or joint tenants, they are jointly and severally liable to pay the whole Council Tax bill for the property.

Persons who are married or in a civil partnership, or couples living as such, are also jointly liable for the whole Council Tax bill.

Responsibility of owners

Responsibility for Council Tax on any property that is not anyone's sole or main residence falls on the owner of the property.

In addition, the owner is liable for certain classes of property as listed below.

Class A: A residential care home, nursing home, mental nursing home or hostel.

Class B: A property inhabited by a religious community.

Class C: A house in multiple occupation, or a property containing a number of people who do not form a single household and who pay rent separately for different parts of the property (such as bedsits). 

Class D: A property occupied by live-in staff employed in domestic services.

Class E: A property occupied by a minister of religion as a residence, from which they perform their duties. Where a Church of England Minister owns the property, the appropriate Diocesan Board of Finance will be the owner for Council Tax purposes.

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