Visit the following pages for full details about council tax exemptions and discounts

Who has to pay

If you are over 18 and live in a property as your main home, you will have to pay council tax for that property.    

If there are a number of people over 18 living in a property, the person liable to pay the council tax for a property is decided by reference to a "hierarchy of liability". The person with the greatest interest in a property is the person liable to pay the council tax.

This is normally the owner/occupier or the tenant/occupier. There could be more than one person with the same interest and therefore they will be jointly liable.

The person liable for the council tax is whoever comes first in the list below

  • Residents who have a freehold interest
  • Residents who have a leasehold interest
  • Residents who are statutory or secure tenants
  • Residents who have a contractual licence to occupy
  • Residents
  • Owners


Resident: any individual aged eighteen or over who has their sole or main residence in the dwelling.

Owner: A person who has an interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling. An interest is a freehold interest or leasehold granted for 6 months or more.

Properties for which the owner is liable

There are some properties where the owner, rather than the residents, will be liable to pay the council tax. The hierarchy above does not apply to these properties:

  • Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) - that is where the residents do not form a single household and pay their rent for different parts of the property. The tenants usually have separate tenancy agreements or where the property has been constructed specifically for occupation by persons who do not constitute a single household. This includes houses of multiple occupation that have been licensed by the local authority.
  • Residential care or nursing home and some types of hostels which provide a high level of care
  • Homes occupied by religious communities, such as monasteries and convents
  • Homes which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
  • Properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the minister's duties of office are carried out
  • Properties occupied only by asylum seekers under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum act 1999.