Who has to pay council tax

Find out who has to pay council tax. Understand what we mean by joint and several liability.

If you occupy a property as your main home, you are responsible for paying council tax. If you are under 18 you do not need to pay council tax.

The person liable to pay council tax

If there is more than one person living in the property, responsibility to pay council tax falls to the person nearest to the top of this list:

  1. The freeholder, if they live in the property
  2. The leaseholder, if the property is leased, and the leaseholder lives there
  3. The statutory or secure tenant, if the property has been rented to a statutory or secure tenant living in the property
  4. The person living in the property, if they have been granted a license to occupy
  5. The person living in the property, including people who do not own the property or pay rent for it (including squatters)

Joint and several liability

If there is more than one person fitting the description of the person liable each of the people will be liable for the whole amount of the council tax, not just a share of it. This is called joint and several liability.

For example, if you rent a property with a friend, you may each decide to pay half the council tax. But, if one of you fails to pay the other person is liable to pay the full amount.

Married and unmarried couples

Husbands and wives, and unmarried couples living together, are also jointly and severally liable to the tax, even if only one of them owns or rents the dwelling.

Empty properties

If the property is empty, the owner is responsible for paying the bill, although a discount or exemption may be available.

Owner responsible for paying council tax

For some types of property, it is the owner rather than the occupier who is responsible for paying the council tax:

  • Residential care homes, nursing homes and some hostels
  • Properties occupied only by religious communities
  • Houses in multiple occupation - that is to say, properties occupied by more than one household where the residents share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom
  • Properties occupied only by employees in domestic service (or members of an employee's family), for the purposes of their employment, and where the main home of the employer is elsewhere
  • Properties lived in by ministers of religion
  • Properties provided to an asylum seeker under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
 
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Contacts

Council tax - billing and collection
localtax@rushmoor.gov.uk
Tel: 01252 398912
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