Do I need to pay Council Tax?

If you think your bill is wrong in any way, you should tell the Council Tax office immediately. Unless you make an arrangement with the Council Tax office, you must continue to pay the amounts set out in your original bill until you are sent a new bill.

There is one Council Tax bill for each household, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, maisonette, mobile home or houseboat, and whether it is rented or owned. To work out who has to pay for your home (or 'dwelling'), we apply the Council Tax legislation. Any agreements between tenants and landlords are disregarded. Look down the list below, as soon as you reach a description that applies to someone responsible for your home, they will be responsible for paying the Council Tax bill.

  • A resident freeholder (so for owner-occupied property the owner is liable).
  • A resident leaseholder ( this includes assured tenants under the Housing Act 1988.
  • A resident statutory or secure tenant.
  • A resident licensee.
  • A resident.
  • The owner (this applies where the dwelling has no residents, or there is no tenancy in place).

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

This means that owner-occupiers or resident tenants usually have to pay the tax. If the property is empty, or it is no-one's main home, the owner is responsible for the bill.

But in some special cases the owner, not the resident, has to pay. These are:

  • Dwellings occupied by more than one household, where the residents pay rent separately for different parts of the dwelling and where the households perhaps share cooking or washing facilities, for example, some hostels, nurses' homes or groups of bedsits;
  • 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;
  • Dwellings which are not the owner's main home, but which are the main home of someone the owner employs in domestic service;
  • Vicarages and other dwellings where a minister of religion lives and works. (Where the owner-occupier is a Church of England minister of religion, the Church is responsible for the bill.)

If you live in such a dwelling, where the owner is liable, you do not have to pay the Council Tax. If your landlord is the person responsible, they might ask you to pay something towards the bill by increasing your rent, but the bill should be in the landlord's name.