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Who Is liable to Pay Council Tax

Who is Liable to pay? 

The rules for who is liable for council tax are the same for every council in England and Wales. Usually, the liable party is the owner occupier or tenant of the property. The liable party is the person named on the bill. 

The following list is used to work out who is liable. The person or people liable are whoever is nearest the top of the table. (A resident is someone aged 18 or over who has their sole or main residence in the dwelling).

Hierarchy of liability

  • A resident who owns the freehold
  • A resident who owns the leasehold
  • A resident who is an assured tenant or is a statutory or secure tenant
  • A resident who is a licensee. This means that they are not a tenant but have permission to stay there
  • Any resident, for example, a squatter
  • An owner of the property who does not live there

There are some circumstances where the owner, as opposed to the residents are liable for council tax. These are: 

  • Houses of Multiple Occupation, that is where the residents do not form a single household and pay their rent separately for different parts of the property. The tenants will usually have separate tenancy agreements.
  • Residential care or nursing homes, and some types of hostels which provide care
  • Homes occupied by Religious communities
  • Homes which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
  • Properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the minister's duties of office are carried out
  • Properties provided to asylum seekers

Joint and several liability

Two or more people may have to pay the council tax for a property. The circumstances when this occurs are:

  • People at the same position in the hierarchy of liability.
  • Residents who are married to each other or live together as husband and wife or are civil partners or live together as civil partners.

If two or more people are jointly liable for council tax, they will both be liable for the total amount owed. If the Council Tax bill goes unpaid, then we can pursue either of them for payment. 

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