Council Tax: who has to pay it?

Council Tax: who pays it?

Pay your Council Tax

Council Tax is charged on every domestic property, and is payable by homeowners, occupiers, or owners.

The person who must pay the Council Tax is someone who lives in the property and who is in the highest category of residence.

Read down the list below from A to E until you find a category that applies to someone who lives in your property; this will be the person who must pay the Council Tax.

If two or more people are in that category, they are all jointly responsible for paying.

Liability for Council Tax
A The owner or freeholder of the property
B The leaseholder of the property
C The tenant (includes a council tenant) of the property
D A licensee
E Someone who lives in the property

Joint and several liability

If more than one person is liable for the Council Tax at a property, each of them will be liable for the whole amount of the council tax, not just a share of it. This is called joint and several liability.

For example, if you rent a property with a joint tenant, you may each decide to pay half of the Council Tax but if one of you fails to pay, the other person is liable to pay the full amount.

Married and unmarried couples

Husbands, wives, and unmarried couples living together are also deemed jointly and severally liable to Council Tax, even if only one of them owns or rents the dwelling.


Even if they do not live there, the owner of the property will have to pay the Council Tax if:

  • the property is no one's main home, or
  • it is a multiple occupation property (bedsits/shared houses), or
  • it is a residential care or nursing home, or
  • it is occupied by a religious community or minister of religion, or
  • only domestic service staff live in the property, or
  • it is only occupied by asylum seekers

Caravans and boats

The pitch for a caravan or the mooring for a boat is charged Council Tax if someone lives in the caravan or the boat as their main home (known as their sole or main residence).

The decision whether a caravan or boat should have a Council Tax bill is made by the Valuation Office Agency and not by local councils.

When the council becomes aware that a caravan or boat may be classed as a person’s home, we will advise the Valuation Office Agency and ask for a decision to be made whether to issue a Council Tax band. The Valuation Office Agency will contact the occupier and review the circumstances on a case by case basis.

If the Valuation Office Agency is satisfied that the caravan or boat is the occupier’s home, they will issue a Council Tax band and it will appear on the domestic valuation list. The council must then send the occupier a bill based upon this band

Enquiries or appeals regarding a caravan or boat appearing on the valuation list should be made to the Valuation Office Agency.

Contact the Listing Officer

The Listing Officer
Northampton Valuation Office
Princess House
Cliftonville Road

Telephone: 03000 501501

Fax: 03000 506599


Frequently asked questions

Q. If I move my boat from mooring to mooring, am I charged Council Tax?

A. If a boat which is someone’s sole or main residence is moored “permanently” at a mooring, then the mooring is domestic property, and both the mooring and the boat are subject to Council Tax

Q. I have to move out of my caravan for a few weeks per year as part of my licence. Should I be charged Council Tax?

A. Even if you are absent from your caravan for periods during the year, if the caravan is your main home, it will be issued a Council Tax band, and you will receive a bill.

This information is a general guidance and is not a substitute for the relevant statutes and regulations.