Who has to pay council tax?

Liable person

Anyone living in a property who is 18 and over is normally responsible for council tax, for example:

  • a property owner that lives in the property
  • a council or private tenant
  • a licensee who lives in the property, for example a landlord of a public house
  • other residents, such as squatters
  • the tenant, even if they have moved out before the end of their tenancy
  • the property owner, if nobody lives in the property

Joint liability

Couples living together, whether married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, joint property owners or tenants that hold a joint tenancy agreement will be 'jointly and severally liable'. This means they are jointly responsible for payment of the full council tax owed and not just their own share.

In the event of payments not being made, recovery action can be taken against any individual named on the bill to collect the full amount owed.

Owner responsibility

There will be properties where the owner, rather than the residents, is responsible for payment. These are:

  • houses in multiple occupation (where residents do not form a single household and pay their rent separately for different parts of the property)
  • residential care or nursing homes, and some types of hostels which provide care
  • religious communities
  • properties which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
  • properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the duties of office are performed
  • properties provided to certain asylum seekers

Tenant responsibility

Tenants are responsible for council tax when the whole of the property is rented to one person or family, or to joint tenants.

Landlord responsibility

A landlord is responsible for council tax when the property is rented out to several people, and they each have an individual tenancy agreement to occupy only part of the building.

A landlord will be liable for council tax for any period the property is unoccupied and a tenancy agreement is not in place.

Data privacy

We cannot give out information about any council tax account that does not belong to you regardless of whether you own the property.