Unoccupied properties are normally charged at the full Council Tax rate and the owner is usually the person liable to pay the charge. Exemptions do apply in some circumstances.
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 facilities, 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.
As asylum seekers do not have access to the benefits system, they can't be held responsible for the payment of Council Tax and rent. Therefore the landlord is responsible for full payment of the Council Tax on a property if it is only occupied by asylum seekers.
Housing providers must be approved by the Home Office before asylum seekers can be housed in their property. The landlord can apply for such discounts as single person discount and unoccupied property, if it is approved and waiting for asylum seekers to move in.
You must tell us:
- The date that the first asylum seekers move into your property.
- When there are no longer any asylum seekers living in it.
You do not need to tell us:
- The names of the asylum seekers living in your property.
- When there is a change in the occupiers, if the new occupiers are also asylum seekers.
Tell us about a change
Let us know about any changes in your circumstances.