Unoccupied properties are normally charged at 50% of the full Council Tax. Exemptions do apply in some circumstances. The owner is the person liable to pay the charge.
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. They are known as the 'liable person'.
- A resident freeholder (for owner-occupied property, this will be the owner)
- A resident leaseholder
- A resident with a statutory or secure tenancy
- A resident licensee
- A resident
- 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 one liable person?
People who are joint owners or joint tenants are jointly liable 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 as husband and wife and to couples living together in a Civil Partnership. Special rules apply where one of the liable people is severely mentally impaired.
Are the residents always liable?
In some special 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 facilites, such as cooking or washing.
- Residential care homes, nursing homes (such as hospices), mental nursing homes or certain types of hostels providing a high level of care.
- Religious communities such as a Monasteries or Convents.
- Properties which are not the owner's main home, but which 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.