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In each household there is usually one person who will be considered by the council liable to pay the council tax bill. That person will be over 18 years old and either be:

  • Resident owner
  • Resident tenant
  • Resident who is statutory, statutory assured or secure tenant
  • Resident sub-tenant
  • or Another resident

If there is no-one living in the property, or if the people that are living there do not have a six-month (or more) rental contract, the non-resident owner is liable for the bill. This includes empty properties and holiday homes, as well as properties owned by religious orders, people in domestic service, and certain kinds of shared accommodation.


Know your rights and your council tax liability based on your situation

There are situations where two or more people are liable for the bill. If you are a joint owner or joint tenant you are equally liable for the bill as the other person (even if only one of your names is on it), if you both live at the property. If there is only one owner of the property, but you are married or in a civil partnership then both of you will be liable as long as you live together. If one of the jointly liable people severely mentally impaired, they will not be jointly liable unless they are the sole owner or sole tenant.

If you own more than one property, the council has to decide which one is being used as your main property and then calculate the council tax liability based on that one. The council tax to be paid on the other property will be dependent on whether someone else is living there and their personal circumstances.

Very few residents are exempt from paying council tax, however, those that are include:

  • Residents of religious communities
  • Residents who are employed in domestic service
  • Where individuals share cooking and/or washing facilities but have exclusive access to other parts of the property for themselves. This includes hostels, nurses’ homes or groups of bedsits.

With the latter group, sometimes the landlord may require a contribution towards the bill in with the rent.

Man 15

“Bailiffs are very intimidating and don’t always tell you the truth, Chris cleared all there empty threats right up and made me feel a lot more confident that I and my family where going to be safe.”
Ash Foat, of West Lancs area

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The council has the legal right and power to obtain the information it needs to find out who is the liable resident in a property. This is often a form sent to your property that must be returned within 21 days or you could risk a £50 fine. If you disagree with the council’s liability assessment, there is an appeal procedure you can go through, starting with a discussion by telephone and then following up in writing about your objection and why you believe someone else is liable.

Working out whether or not you are the liable person in your household is not always easy. If you have any doubts or worries about whether you are the liable person and what this means for you, get in contact with us now for a confidential chat. As experts on council tax liability, we can quickly and easily point you in the right direction and advise you on what you need to do.

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