Council tax is paid by residents to their respective council authorities so that community bases services can be provided through public revenue. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether someone living on an unadopted road will get a council tax reduction on their bill. We will also discuss the various criteria for council tax reduction and the exemption for residents. To conclude the discussion, we will review how council tax rates are calculated and assigned to properties.

Do You Get Council Tax Reduction For Living On An Unadopted Road?

No, you do not get a council tax reduction for living on an unadopted road and neither is the council office obliged to maintain an unadopted road.

An unadopted road is one that is not maintained by council authorities at public expense. This means that the council does not manage the street lights, footpaths or even maintenance of the road itself. Such roads are the responsibility of the homeowners who reside alongside them.

A survey conducted by the Department of Transport revealed that there were approximately 40,000 unadopted roads in England and Wales. This makes 4,000 miles of road length. If this stretch of land was to be maintained by council authorities, it would cost a minimum of £3 billion to bring them to an adopted standard.

There have been numerous debates by homeowners and tenants who live alongside unadopted roads to be able to receive a reduction in their council tax bills as the council authorities are not maintaining the road and are being taken care of by the residents themselves. However, despite detailed discussions, the conclusion has always maintained that unless unadopted roads are adopted formally by the government, council authorities will not maintain them.

Council tax applies to properties on the basis of their market values and is collected by council authorities to provide community-based services such as schools, hospitals, roads and garbage collection to name a few.

Below is a detailed classification of council tax rates according to their valuation bands:

Council Tax BandProperty Value
AUp to £40,000
BOver £44,000 and up to £52,000
COver £52,000 and up to £68,000
DOver £68,000 and up to £88,000
EOver £88,000 and up to £120,000
FOver £120,000 and up to £160,000
GOver £160,000 and up to £320,000
HOver £320,000 

How Can I Avail Council Tax Reduction?

Whether residents own or rent their homes, they may qualify for a council tax reduction in their bill, if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • living alone: regardless of financial circumstances, living alone is enough reason to avail of a 25 per cent discount as council tax rates are established on the assumption that each house will comprise of two adults.
  • living with a full-time student: full-time students and student nurses are exempt from council tax bills. Sharing a residence with them qualifies you for a discount.
  • living with someone below 18 years of age: since council taxes are applicable on adults, anyone below the age of 18 does not qualify to be counted as a member of the shared household where council tax is levied.
  • being a carer: while there are additional criteria to be considered her, being a carer for another member of the household for at least 35 hours per week qualifies the individual for a CTR. 
  • changes in home value: if there is a change in the surroundings of your residential property causing a full-time decrease in its value, the council tax band may be lowered by a valuation expert, enabling you to enter a lower band with reduced council tax bills due.
  • the desired mode of payment: while council tax payments are spread over 10 monthly instalments, should you require a change such as 12-month instalments, it will reduce the monthly amount to be paid. On the other hand, should you prefer to pay the annual amount in a lump sum, a bulk payment may also qualify you for a discount.

How Can I Get Exemption From Council Tax?

To be able to claim eligibility for exemption council tax payments, claimants must be able to fulfil the following criteria:

  • the owner does not live in the said property and lives in a care home
  • the owner is receiving hospital care at a medical facility
  • the owner/tenant is temporarily living elsewhere to take care of someone
  • the owner/tenant is in the armed forces and is stationed away from the premises at times
  • the owner/tenant is serving jail time in prison (not for non-payment of council tax bills)
  • the said property is/was registered by a charity and is not used for residential purposes
  • the said property is an extension/annexe of single property
  • properties that have been repossessed
  • properties that are purchased to be demolished

If an individual fulfils any of these criteria, they must contact their local council office and raise an appeal for council tax exemption.

How Is Council Tax Calculated On New Builds?

Council tax is due on new builds from the Completion Date onwards. It is the builder and the buyer’s (if both are separate) responsibility to inform local council authorities of this date as well as the current value of the property.

Local council authorities then inform the Valuation Office Agency. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) initially assesses the market value of properties according to their worth in 1991 (this is a uniform practice across the UK) to assign them a valuation band. If your property has been constructed after 1991, the market value of similar properties at that time will be applied.

While the valuation process takes its due time, the local council authorities assign a council tax number to the owners.

There are eight valuation bands for council tax bills that run across A to H, with Band A assigned to properties with the lowest value and increasing up to Band H for properties with higher values. It is on the basis of this assigned band, that the amount of council tax is decided. Therefore, the higher the valuation band, the higher the council tax payments.

The same bands are applied whether a property is a new build, is being re-assessed after renovations or an extension.

What Does Your Council Tax Bill Tell You?

Essentially, your council tax bills indicate the following three areas:

  • the total amount due for the entire year
  • how the annual amount has been worked out by the local authorities
  • the dates are payments will be due

A standard bill is spread over 10 monthly instalments that run between April and January. However, if residents find it difficult to make timely amounts as per the monthly amount that is due, they can request their local council to divide this annual tax into 12 instalments; thus, reducing the size of the monthly instalment.

It must be remembered that you may not receive the same amount of council tax bill as another person living in your council. This is a property-based tax that varies depending upon the value of the property. 

Also, each council designs their council tax scheme. This means that your bill may be different as compared to another individual living in a different council. 

Why Is Council Tax So High?

The reason why certain domestic property dwellers find council tax to be high may be due to the fact that the amount due to individuals for this property based tax is calculated according to the market value of one’s property and the consequent valuation band assigned to it.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) initially assessed the market value of properties according to their worth in 1991 (this is a uniform practice across the UK) to assign them a valuation band. 

There are eight bands that run across A to H, with Band A assigned to properties with the lowest value and increasing up to Band H for properties with higher values. It is on the basis of this assigned band, that the amount of council tax is decided. Therefore, the higher the valuation band, the higher the council tax payments.

Conclusion:

From the above discussion we can conclude that unadopted roads remain the responsibility of the residents who live alongside them. However, these residents will not be able to qualify for a council tax reduction on the basis of maintaining unadopted roads. The council tax that is applied on such properties will follow the same criteria which assess the property on the basis of its market value.

FAQs: Do You Get Council Tax Reduction For Living On An Unadopted Road?

When is a road not adopted by the local authority?

A road is not adopted by the local authority which means that the Highway Authority has not adopted the road or taken the responsibility for maintaining it. In some cases, residents request council authorities to undertake responsibility for the maintenance of unadopted roads.

Is my street a private road in the UK?

If you want to know if your street is a private road, you ask the Local Highway Authority or local council office to share this information with you.

What is a private road in the UK?

A private road in the UK is one that is not maintained by council authorities at public expense. It is the responsibility of the residents who live on the road to maintain it.

Can you park on an unadopted road?

No, you cannot park on an unadopted road. Such roads are not meant for public usage as public funds do not provide their maintenance. Parking on an unadopted road is considered trespassing and qualifies as Nuisance Parking.

Is an unadopted road a highway?

An unadopted road can be a highway that is used by the general public or private street with limited and private access to those who can use it.

References:

Reduce council tax for living on an unadopted road? — MoneySavingExpert Forum

Council tax discount over unadopted estate refused | Shropshire Star

Purchasing a Property with an Unadopted Road – Frettens Solicitors in Christchurch, Ringwood, Bournemouth

Resident on an unadopted Road – a Freedom of Information request to Slough Borough Council – WhatDoTheyKnow

How domestic properties are assessed for Council Tax bands – GOV.UK

Council Tax banding and new build properties

Council Tax: what it is, what it costs and how to save money

Council Tax: Paying your bill – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Council tax rises: Why is it always going up? – TaxPayers’ Alliance

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