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Who has to pay the Council Tax

Someone has to pay the Council Tax on a property, and that person is called the liable person. The liable person is usually someone living in the property and if only one person lives in a property it will usually be that person.

People who are living together as a couple share liability regardless of their marital status.

To work out who is the liable person, a system called the Hierarchy of Liability is used, the person with the highest position in the hierarchy will be liable. Starting from the bottom and working up the hierarchy is:

  • The owner
  • The tenant
  • The licence holder
  • Any resident including squatters
  • The owner/leaseholder where no one is resident.

When more than one person is at the liable point in the hierarchy, those people are all liable.

A liable person must be over 18.

When the owner becomes liable

The owner of the property is the liable person if:

  • The property is in multiple occupation, for example a house shared by a number of different households who all have separate rental agreements or
  • The people in the property are all under the age of 18 or
  • The property is accommodation for asylum seekers or
  • The property is a care home, hospital, hostel or women's refuge.

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