Who pays council tax

The person who has to pay the Council Tax is the first person in the following list who is aged 18 or over and lives at the dwelling as their only or main home.

  • A freehold owner
  • A leasehold owner
  • A statutory tenant or a secure tenant
  • An occupier under a licence
  • Anyone else over 18 living at the dwelling

Joint and several liability

If two people are at the same level in the above list, and no one is higher in the list, they are both 'jointly and severally' liable. This means that the bill can be addressed to either or both of them and either one can be asked to pay the full amount.

Husbands and wives and civil partners are automatically 'jointly and severally' liable, while they both live at the dwelling. This will include couples living together as if there were husbands and wives/civil partners. If two or more people are joint owners then they are 'jointly and severally' liable to pay Council Tax.

Liability of owners in certain circumstances

There are certain classes of dwelling where the owner always has to pay. These are:

  • Class A - Residential care homes, nursing homes, mental nursing homes and hostels
  • Class B - Religious communities
  • Class C - Houses in multiple occupation, usually rented out as bed-sits, with shared facilities. This does not include a group of people with a shared tenancy agreement with the landlord (eg a whole house rented by a group of friends)
  • Class D - A dwelling with residents in domestic service, where the employer lives there from time to time
  • Class E - The home of a minister of religion, from which the duties of office are performed
  • Class F - A dwelling provided to an asylum seeker under an arrangement made under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Last updated 2 November 2021
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