Liability for a dwelling

Information outlining who is billed for council tax.

Chargeable dwelling

A property subject to an independent council tax charge is derived by the Valuation Office Agency who form part of HMRC. They determine what is rateable for a council tax charge and the valuation band placed on each independent assessment. Broadly speaking, an independent council tax band is applicable on any domestic self-contained living space that is habitable or in reasonable repair.

If a dwelling is in disrepair or derelict, the Valuation Office Agency may consider removing the assessment from the domestic banding list. For more information on this, please see the guidance on GOV.UK.

Calculation of liability

Section 2, Local Government Finance Act 1992 stipulates that liability will accrue on daily basis. When calculating the amount due, council tax is calculated from the start of the financial year (or where applicable, the date a party becomes responsible) until the end of the respective financial year. Where the party responsible for liability ceases, the amount of tax is recalculated at the time the change in circumstances occurs and a revised bill is issued.

Who is liable for payment

Section 6, Local Government Finance Act 1992 stipulates that the party liable for payment of council tax is the person whose status places them highest of the hierarchy for liability. Where two or more persons have the same interest, they shall be jointly liable for payment. The hierarchy for liability is as follows:

Where there is residence of the dwelling:

  • A resident with a freehold interest
  • A resident who has a statutory or secure tenancy
  • A resident who has a contractual licence
  • A resident

For council tax purposes, the definition of a resident is an individual over the age of 18 years who occupies the dwelling as their sole or main residence.

Where there is no residence, liability shall fall on the non-resident party in the following order:

  • A party subject to a fixed tenancy or lease
  • The owner of the dwelling

Exceptions to the hierarchy:

  • Where persons are married or live together as partners irrespective of whether they hold an equal interest, they shall be held jointly liable
  • Where a person who would ordinarily be liable is exempt from payment as a student or is categorised as severely mentally impaired