If you own the property you live in you will have to pay Council Tax, together with your partner and any other resident joint owner(s) and their resident partner(s). 

If you rent the property and the owner lives elsewhere, you, together with any other joint tenants in your household and partners, will usually have to pay the Council Tax. 

If the owner lives elsewhere and there is no tenancy agreement, all adult occupiers are jointly liable. In some circumstances the owner may be liable to pay Council Tax for a tenanted property

Married and unmarried couples

Husbands and wives and unmarried couples living together are liable to pay Council Tax even if only one of them owns or rents the property.  The bill will show all the names, although only one bill may be sent.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A House in Multiple Occupation (or HMO) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not living together as a family, and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities but have separate bedrooms.

In order to be an HMO, the property must be used as the tenants' main residence. Properties let to students and migrant workers will be treated as their main residence and the same will apply to properties which are used as domestic refuges.

Homes empty for two or more years

The Empty Homes Premium will be added to any property which has remained empty and unfurnished for longer than two years; regardless of how long the current owner has had the property, except for when:

  • The property is the main residence of a member of the armed forces absent as a result of such service
  • The property forms part of a single property (i.e. an annex) which is being treated as a part of the main dwelling by a resident of that property
  • The property is on the market for sale or rent

Length of time property empty

Additional Premium

2 – 5 years (introduce from 2019)


5 – 10 years (introduce from 2020)


10 years + (introduce from 2021)


When the owner should pay the Council Tax

The owner, rather than the occupier, is liable to pay the Council Tax in the following cases:

  • Houses in multiple occupation, e.g. groups of bedsits which share washing and cooking facilities.
  • Care and nursing homes together with some hostels.
  • Properties occupied only by religious communities.
  • Some vicarages.
  • Properties occupied by asylum seekers.

Depending on your circumstances and those who live with you, you may be entitled to a Council Tax reduction or exemption.

Last updated: Mon 16th January, 2023 @ 12:25