A person is regarded as living in a property for council tax purposes if it is their sole or main residence.  Although this is straightforward if a person only has one home, when a person has more than one home (including outside of the UK) we have to decide which is their main residence.

Main residence is not defined in law but over the last few years there have been a number of tribunal / court cases to decide what is and is not a main residence.  The kind of things we will take into account in deciding somebody's main residence are based on judgements from these cases and include the following:

Security of Tenure / Rights of Occupation

At each residence, whether or not you are;

  • an owner
  • a tenant (and the nature of any tenancy)
  • a lodger
  • in accommodation provided with employment
  • Your right to occupy a property
  • Your residence is conditional e.g. residence in a country is dependant on holding a work permit

Personal Ties

  • At which residence you are registered with a doctor / dentist
  • Where the majority of your possessions are kept
  • Where you return to during periods of leave or at the end of employment
  • Your long-term intentions
  • Are you already regarded as mainly resident elsewhere for council tax purposes
  • Where you are registered to vote
  • Membership of clubs and other social activities 
  • Where you receive post
  • Which property you regard as your main residence
  • How you split your time between your residences

Family Ties

  • At which residence your partner / dependants live
  • From which residence your children attend school
  • At which residence you spend time with your family    

Particular Circumstances

  • Merchant Seamen – cannot be resident in a ship
  • Students – are always regarded as being mainly resident at their term time address
  • Services Personnel – will be regarded as mainly resident in accommodation provided privately rather than any service accommodation
  • Armed forces - We can't give you a Council Tax discount if you live in a privately owned or rented home and one of the occupiers is away in the armed forces.  This is because the house would still be classed as their main residence for taxation purposes. However, all armed forces personnel deployed on operations overseas, who normally pay Council Tax, can benefit from a tax-free payment on the cost of Council Tax, which is paid directly by the Ministry of Defence. This is called Council Tax Relief (CTR). Please take your council bill to your unit HR department to claim this relief.

In order to establish the facts of your individual circumstances we may ask additional questions and ask for additional evidence to be sent in to us. We will also review and check any information given to us to ensure your account is correct.