As a general rule it is the occupier of a property who has to pay Council Tax and normally this will be the owner or tenant.


What is the definition of an occupier?

An occupier is someone who has their "sole or main residence" in the property - in other words, it's their home.

What if my house is empty most of the time?

You may still be regarded as the occupier, even if you spend considerable amounts of time away from home, for example if you work away from home or work abroad.

What if no-one lives there?

If a property is unoccupied, meaning no-one actually lives there, the person who has the legal right to occupy the property becomes liable for Council Tax.

In most cases this will be the owner of the property. For further information on how much Council Tax is payable under these circumstances please see Discounts and Exemptions for Empty Homes.

What if more than one person is liable?

It's quite possible that more than one person will be liable to pay, in the following circumstances:

  • Where there are joint owners or tenants 
  • Partners of owners and tenants are also jointly liable for the charge, e.g. husbands, wives and civil partners.

Remember, where there is more than one person liable to pay Council Tax, the council can look for payment for all or part of the debt from any of the liable persons.

Are there any exceptions to this?

There are some exceptions to this rule, where it is the owners that are responsible for paying the Council Tax:

  • Nursing homes, care homes, and some hostels providing a high level of care
  • Houses in "multiple occupation" 
  • Vicarages and other homes where a minister of religion lives and works
  • Religious communities such as monasteries or convents
  • Properties which are used for staff accommodation.

Can I appeal against the Council's decision?

If you disagree with the Council's decision to make you liable for Council Tax you can appeal against your liability. Please see How to appeal your liability to pay Council Tax for more information.