There is a strict hierarchy of who is responsible for paying the Council Tax on a chargeable dwelling (property). The person responsible for the Council Tax on a property will be the person who comes first on the following list: 

  • a resident of the property who has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it
  • a resident of the property who has a leasehold interest in the whole or part of it which is not inferior to another such resident leaseholder's interest
  • a resident who is a statutory or secure tenant of the whole or any part of the property
  • a resident who has a contractual license to occupy the whole or any part of the property
  • a resident of the property
  • the owner of the property

A "resident" means any individual who is eighteen years old or over and has their sole or main residence in the property.

An "owner" means a person with a 'material interest' (freehold or leasehold granted longer than 6 months) in the whole or any part of a property for which an inferior 'material interest' is not subject.

Responsibility of owners

Responsibility for Council Tax on any property which is no-one's sole or main residence falls on the owner of the property. In addition, the owner is liable for certain classes of property as listed below:

  • Class A:  a residential care home, nursing home, mental nursing home or hostel
     
  • Class B: a property inhabited by a religious community 
     
  • Class C: houses in multiple occupation; properties containing a number of people who do not form a single household and who pay rent separately for different parts of the property (e.g. bedsits), rather than houses rented jointly by people who share responsibility for bills between themselves 
     
  • Class D: properties occupied by domestic servants and their families for the purpose of their employment and which are from time to time occupied by the employer
     
  • Class E: a property used by a minister of religion as a residence and from which he performs the duties of his office. In the case of a Church of England Minister who owns his own house the appropriate Diocesan Board of Finance will be regarded as the owner for liability purposes

Identifying the responsible person

In order to serve a Council Tax demand notice, we must make reasonable inquiries to identify the liable person. We have powers to gain this information.