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Who pays Council Tax when renting, tenant or landlord?

Who foots the bill? (Picture: Getty)

The UK has been feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis, which has seen household bills skyrocket.

Among the rising costs is Council Tax, which has jumped up by an average of £67 in England.

As people start to organise their finances to keep afloat, many will be wondering whether they need to factor Council Tax into their budget.

Here, explains who is expected to foot the bill when renting.

Who pays Council Tax when renting?

In the majority of cases, tenants pay Council Tax.

The tenant usually pays Council Tax (Picture: Getty)

There is a hierarchy of liability that determines who has to foot the bill, working in descending order until the level matches your situation.

The hierarchy is as follows:

  1. A resident owner-occupier who owns the freehold or leasehold
  2. A resident tenant on an assured tenancy agreement
  3. A resident who is a licensee, which means they are not a tenant but they do have permission to live there
  4. Any resident, for example a squatter
  5. The owner of the property who doesn’t live there

If there are several residents aged 18 and over at the same level, liability is shared equally. That means that you need to make sure the bill is paid, even if your housemate isn’t coughing up.

However, there are some instances where the tenants are exempt from paying Council Tax. They are as follows:

  • If the property is in multiple occupation, for example, a house shared by a number of different households who all pay rent separately
  • If the people who live in the property are all under the age of 18
  • If the property is accommodation for asylum seekers
  • If the people who are staying in the property are there temporarily and have their main homes somewhere else (for example, students)
  • If the property is a care home, hospital, hostel, or women’s refuge

In these cases, the owner is liable to pay.

If you are still unsure or think you are paying too much tax, then you should contact Citizen’s Advice.

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