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

Some people are 'jointly and severally' liable for council tax payment. This includes:

  • Couples living together, whether married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting,

  • joint property owners

  • or, tenants that hold a joint tenancy agreement.

This means they are 'jointly' responsible for payment of the full council tax owed. Individuals are not just responsible for their own share. They are responsible for the full amount owed.

If payment is not made, we will take recovery action against any individual named on the bill. This is to ensure we can collect the full amount owed.

Owner responsibility

In some properties, the owner rather than the residents, are responsible for payment. These include:

  • Houses in multiple occupation. Rented accommodation where residents do not form a single household. Each tenant pays 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. Domestic staff are also resident in the property.
  • Properties occupied by ministers of religion. The minister should use the property to perform the duties of office.
  • Properties provided to certain asylum seekers.

Tenant responsibility

Tenants are responsible for council tax when the whole property is let to either:

  • one person,
  • a family,
  • or joint tenants.

Landlord responsibility

A landlord is responsible for council tax when several people rent the property. Each tenant must 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. This is regardless of whether you own the property.