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What is council tax and why do I have to pay it?

Posted 17/01/2024 by Alex Moore
Family embracing

Council tax is an important expense you need to pay on time. If you don’t, you could end up with a court summons. It’s not worth missing, but it’s also not worth stressing over.

That’s why we’re going through what council tax is, how much you’ll have to pay and who needs to pay it.

What is council tax?

Council tax is an annual fee your local council charges you to fund local services, such as emergency services, public and educational services, waste collection and disposal, and more.

Council tax is important as without it your local council would have less budget to keep these essential services running for you and your local neighbourhood.

How much is council tax?

The amount of council tax you’ll have to pay on your property will depend on a few factors:

  1. The valuation band for your property
  2. The amount your local council charges for your council tax band

Your property’s value is what determines its council tax band. Council tax bands range from A to H, with A the cheapest and H the most expensive.

There are discounts available for those who are eligible, such as a 25% single occupancy discount if you live alone. You can apply for a council tax discount if you believe your circumstances fit the requirements.

Find out how much you'll have to pay

If you live in England or Wales, you can find out your property’s council tax band here. If you live in Scotland, you can find out your property’s council tax band on the Scottish Assessors website.

To find out how much your local council charges for council tax, you can visit the government website here if your property is in England or Wales. If you’re in Scotland, you can find your local council’s guidance here.

Who has to pay council tax?

Council tax is paid by the occupier of the property to the council, whether you’re a homeowner or a renter. If you are over the age of 18, you will be required to pay council tax.

However, there are some conditions where individuals considered as ‘disregarded’ won’t need to pay council tax. This includes:

  • Full-time students at college or university
  • Individuals on certain apprentice schemes
  • Student nurses
  • And more…

When do landlords have to pay council tax?

Tenants are liable to pay council tax as they are occupying the property being let, but there are some cases where the landlord becomes liable. This includes:

  • When the occupant or occupants are all under the age of 18
  • When the property is an HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) and all tenants are paying rent individually
  • If the property is a hospital, a refuge or a care home
  • When the occupants are asylum seekers
  • When tenants are in a temporary rental property while the main property is undergoing emergency work

Note that if you’re a landlord with an HMO, it’s common practice to amend rent to include the cost of council tax.

At Your Move, we always obtain proof of age as part of our tenant referencing checks and do our best to make sure the tenant can afford bills associated with the let before we approve a tenancy.


Council tax is a simple expense and one not to be forgotten. If you don’t pay your council tax you will receive a reminder from the council after about two weeks.

If you don’t pay within 7 days of your reminder, or it’s your third time receiving a reminder for missing a council tax payment, you’ll receive your ‘final notice’ before action is taken.

If you’re thinking about what the next big move for you is, why not get in touch with your local branch and their advisers will help you with your journey.

Find out more today

Alex Moore

Your Move E-Marketing Executive

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