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Who is liable to pay Council Tax?

Unoccupied property

Occupied property


Council Tax is a charge on all households and pays for local services.


Unoccupied property

Class C Discount
If a property is empty and unfurnished, the owner can apply for a Class C discount. This is a 75% reduction for the first three months that a property is empty. If the property remains empty after three months, no further discount will apply and the owner becomes responsible for the full charge. If the property remains empty after 2 years then it will be subject to an Empty Council Tax Premium of 50%. This means the owner of the property will be liable for 150% charge whilst it remains empty and unfurnished.

Class D Discount
An empty property which requires, or is undergoing major repairs to make it liveable, or is being structurally altered, may qualify for 25% discount for the first 12 months that the property is empty. After the 12 months has expired there will be no further discount and the owner will be responsible for the full charge.

Second home discount
There is no discount for second homes.

However, if you live away from your home as a condition of your employment (e.g. armed forces personnel being posted away from home, either here or abroad) then you may qualify for 50% discount.


Occupied property

How can I tell who has to pay?
There is only one Council Tax bill for each home. To work out who pays for your home, look at the list below. When you reach the first description that applies to someone in your home, they are responsible for the bill.

  • resident freeholder (for owner-occupied property, this will be the owner)
  • resident leaseholder
  • resident with a statutory or secure tenancy
  • resident licensee
  • resident, or
  • the owner.

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

What if there is more than on liable person?
People who are joint owners or joint tenants are both liable (joint & several liability) for the one Council Tax bill for that property.

The husband or wife of the Council Tax payer is also jointly responsible for paying the bill. This also applies to an unmarried couple living together.

Special rules apply where one of the liable people is severely mentally impaired.

Are the residents always liable?
In certain cases the owner, not the residents, has to pay the Council Tax. These cases are:

  • Properties occupied by more than one household, where the households share facilities, such as cooking or washing.
  • Residential care homes, nursing homes (such as hospices), mental nursing homes or certain types of hostel providing a high level of care.
  • Religious communities such as Monasteries or Convents.
  • Properties which are not the owner's main home, but are the main home of a person or people who the owner employs in domestic service.
  • Vicarage and other houses where a minister of religion lives and works.
  • Properties occupied by Asylum Seekers.

If you live in one of these homes where the owner is liable, you do not have to pay the Council Tax. If your landlord is the liable person they may ask you to pay something towards the bill. This depends on the terms of your agreement with them.

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