Council Tax is charged on all domestic properties in England and Wales. One Council Tax bill is issued to each property whether it is occupied or not.
The government has issued guidance to help you check that you're paying the right level of Council Tax. For more information, see GOV.UK - Paying the Right Level of Council Tax.
We work out who is liable to pay the property's Council Tax by using a ‘hierarchy of liability’. To find out who is liable to pay Council Tax in your property, read the following list. As soon as you reach a description that applies to you or someone else in your home, you will have found the person (or persons) liable to pay Council Tax:
- You own and live in the property - this means you may be the leaseholder, freeholder or landowner
- You rent the property
- You rent the property but do not have a formal agreement in place to stay there, though you do have permission
- You live in the property, but do not have a formal agreement in place to stay there - for example, you may be squatting
- You own a property which no one lives in
Spouses and partners who live together are jointly responsible for paying Council Tax.
Sometimes the owner of a property will have to pay instead of the person who lives there. The owner is liable to pay if:
- all residents who live in the property are under 18 years old
- the property is home to asylum seekers
- the residents are staying in the property temporarily and their main home is somewhere else
- the property is a registered care home, hospital, hostel or women's refuge
- the property is a House in Multiple Occupation - for example, a property where residents have separate tenancies or licences and only occupy or pay rent for part of the property (such as a bedsit with shared facilities)
If you are paying Council Tax and think the bill is incorrect or that the owner of the property should pay instead, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure the subject of your email includes your Council Tax number inside angled brackets, for example <12345678>.
To find out about legislation regarding Council Tax, see What you need to know about Council Tax.
A second home is a furnished property that is not your main home. This includes furnished let properties which are between lets. You will not be entitled to a discount for a second home. The full charge will be payable.
If a property is unoccupied and unfurnished, you must inform us. The full charge will be payable on the property unless it is exempt due to one of the reasons listed under Council Tax Discounts.
Council Tax empty homes premium
Any properties that have been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than 2 years will be charged twice the normal Council Tax rate. From 1 April 2024, the empty homes premium for empty, unfurnished property will be charged after 1 year.
Properties that have been empty for more than 5 years will be charged 3 times the normal Council Tax rate. Properties empty for more than 10 years will be charged 4 times the normal rate.