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Council Tax liability

Who is liable to pay Council Tax

The liable person is within the highest relevant category listed below. 

  1. residents who have a freehold interest in the whole or any part of the property
  2. residents who have a leasehold interest (including an assured shorthold tenancy) in the whole or any part of the property (or the superior leasehold interest if there are tenants with different leasehold interest)
  3. residents who are statutory or secure tenants of the whole or any part of the property
  4. residents who have a contractual licence to occupy the property or any part of it
  5. other residents
  6. non-resident owners of the property

A resident is someone aged 18 or over who lives in the dwelling as their only or main home.

If the description fits more than one person, then they each have a joint and several liability.

Joint and several liability is a legal term and it means that each person is equally, jointly liable for the whole charge, and the council can pursue both parties for any outstanding amount, until it is paid in full. Any disputes between joint and several parties needs to be dealt with by the individuals, not the council.

Please note that for the purposes of item 6 above, an "owner" in relation to any dwelling is someone who holds a material interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling. A "material interest" is further defined as a freehold interest, or a leasehold interest which was granted for a term of six months or more.

Joint and several liability also applies to husbands and wives resident in the same dwelling and to unmarried couples living as husband and wife and civil partnerships. Some people are excluded from joint liability such as 'students' and the 'severely mentally impaired'.

When the owner remains liable for Council Tax

In certain circumstances, set out below, it is the owner of a property who is liable, not the people who live there:

  • residential care homes, nursing homes and some hostels
  • residences that are occupied by more than one household (a house of multiple occupation) and the residents pay rent separately for different parts of the dwelling, or specially built or altered so that people of different households can live in them
  • residences of Ministers of Religion
  • residences of religious communities
  • residences of domestic servants
  • residences of asylum seekers


If you are a full time student resident in a property, along with another adult, who is not a student and who holds an identical interest in the property to you ie joint owner, joint tenant or joint resident, you will no longer be liable for the Council Tax. If, however, you hold a greater interest in the property and the other resident is not a student, then you will still be the person liable for the charge.

Appeal liability for Council Tax

If you consider that you are not liable to pay Council Tax you must first notify us in writing giving reasons why you are unhappy with the decision.

If you are still unhappy with our decision you can then appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service.

You should continue to pay your Council Tax bill while your appeal is outstanding. Any overpayment will be refunded in full if your appeal is successful.