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Who Has To Pay Council Tax?

Most dwellings are subject to Council Tax. There is one bill per dwelling, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat, and whether it is owned or rented.

To work out who has to pay for your home (or "dwelling"), look down the list in the box below. As soon as you reach a description which applies to someone in your home, that is the person who is responsible for the bill (the "liable person"). 

  • A resident freeholder (so, for owner-occupied property, the owner is liable)
  • A resident leaseholder (this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988)
  • A resident statutory or secure tenant
  • A resident licensee
  • A resident
  • The owner (this applies where the dwelling has no residents)

A 'resident' is a person of 18 years or over who lives in the dwelling as their only or main home 

These rules mean that the owner-occupier(s) or resident tenant(s) [including Council tenant(s)] usually has to pay the tax. If the property is empty, or it is not anyone's main home, or if the people living there are under 18, the owner is responsible for the bill. Tenants do not have to pay Council Tax if their landlord lives in the dwelling. These rules do not apply in some special cases. If you require further details, please contact us.

Joint and Several Liability

There can be more than one liable person. People who are joint owners or joint tenants are jointly and severally (i.e. individually) liable for the one Council Tax bill for the dwelling. Husbands and wives of liable people are also jointly responsible for paying the bill. This also applies to a people living together as partners. Special rules apply where one of the liable people is severely mentally impaired and for students.

The 'main' home

If a person has more than one home or works away from home, it is important to determine where that person's main residence is. This is a major factor in deciding how much Council Tax is payable and depends on the individual circumstances of each case.

Empty Homes Premium

From 1st April 2014 the Council implemented a 50% Empty Homes Premium (EHP) to properties which have been unoccupied for more than 2 years. This applies from the date properties become unoccupied, regardless of changes in property ownership.

This means that where an EHP is applicable the liable amount has been increased to 150% e.g. a Band A property with an annual liability of £857.89 will be charged £1,286.84.

This change is to incentivise the bringing back into use of the Borough's housing stock in line with the Council's Empty Homes Strategy. This in turn may help the local economy and form part of the Council's ongoing budget strategy.