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Who pays council tax

You’ll usually have to pay council tax if you’re 18 or over and own or rent a home. Spouses and partners who live together are both responsible for paying the bill. The responsibility for paying council tax applies in the following order:

  • Owner who lives in the property
  • Tenant who lives in the property
  • Subtenant who lives in the property
  • Someone else who lives in the property
  • The owner if nobody lives in the property

The following people are responsible for paying the council tax bill:

  • Married couples
  • Couples who live together as if married
  • People in a civil partnership
  • Joint owners
  • Joint tenants

We can choose to collect the full amount of the council tax bill from anyone who is legally responsible for it. It is then up to the person who has paid to get any monies back from the other parties.

Where individuals are either jointly and severally liable for a debt or have a sole debt we may, where necessary, discuss details of any prior debt with your current partner.  If you do not wish us to discuss your outstanding previous sole debt with your new joint partner, you can request that we do not share this information by emailing

Please note that where there is a legitimate reason, we may still need to share this information.

In certain circumstances, depending on who is living in the property, we will charge the owner for the council tax, even if they are not living in the property themselves.

This includes properties shared by:

  • Many different households (known as a 'house in multiple occupation') where the property has been constructed/adapted for occupation by people who are not a single household; and
  • Properties used only by religious communities.