Guide Council Tax FAQ

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21. Who is responsible for paying Council Tax and what if my bill is wrong?

This list below shows who is/are the liable person (s) and therefore responsible for paying the Council Tax bill. A spouse or partner of a liable person will also be held jointly liable.

  • a resident freeholder
  • a resident leaseholder
  • a resident tenant
  • a resident licensee
  • a resident
  • the owner (unoccupied property)

A resident is a person of 18 years or over who occupies the dwelling as their only or main home.

In general, the liable person(s) in each dwelling is usually the resident owner(s) or tenant(s) of the property.

Owner liability

In terms of Council Tax if a person takes on a tenancy to occupy the whole property for a period of 6 months or more, that person or company is considered as the owner of the property for the following criteria: 

  • residential care homes and nursing homes
  • houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
  • dwellings occupied by a religious community
  • dwelling inhabited by live-in staff employed in domestic services
  • residences of ministers of religion

This is because we have care homes and other HMO properties owned by one person but rented by another and it is the tenant that we hold liable.

Joint and several liability

Where adult members of the same household (for example, freeholders, leaseholders, tenants) have an interest in the property, they are held jointly or severally (individually) liable to pay the whole Council Tax bill. Husband and wife, civil partners or couples living as such, will each be held jointly and severally liable for the whole Council Tax bill.

In all circumstances, where there are two or more people liable for the same Council Tax bill, it is in the interests of all residents to come to an amicable agreement about how to pay in full.

What to do if your Council Tax bill is wrong

Please tell us immediately if:

  • your property should not be charged Council Tax
  • you think we have billed the wrong person
  • we have spelt your name incorrectly
  • you have moved out of the property 
  • you are no longer responsible to pay


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