Does A Permitted Occupier Have To Pay Council Tax?

This blog post aims to answer the question of whether or not a permitted occupier has to pay council tax. While we will mainly focus on whether a permitted occupier has a responsibility towards housing costs, we will also explore how their addition to a residence affects council tax for the tenant; as well as conduct a quick comparison between a permitted occupier and a lodger.

Does A Permitted Occupier Have To Pay Council Tax?

No, a permitted occupier does not have to pay council tax as long as the tenant continues to live in the property. Permitted occupiers are individuals who are nominated by tenants as joint occupants of the property that the tenant has rented out. They may live with the tenant and share the premises with them on a permanent or temporary basis; however, they are not liable for housing costs including rental payments or council tax in the presence of the tenant.

If the tenant is away from the property and a council tax bill is due, the responsibility for timely payment of council tax will fall on the permitted occupier; according to the hierarchy of liability for council tax payments.

Permitted occupiers can be any of the following: 

  • young children who live on college campuses during the week and come home to their parents on weekends 
  • a spouse/partner who lives at a distance due to work and stays certain days of the week
  • an elderly parent who is being taken care of by the tenant

However, it is not necessary that a permitted occupier is an immediate family member and can be a friend too.

That said, permitted occupiers are usually mentioned in the tenancy agreement to avoid the impression of multiple occupancies of the property being rented; as well as to keep the landlord informed of who will be living with the tenant even if they are not held liable for paying the rent.

When it comes to council tax liability, the responsibility starts with the person whose name is mentioned on the tenancy agreement and the council tax bill. This responsibility is jointly shared with a spouse or partner whether or not they are named on the tenancy agreement or council tax bill.

The next person in line is a resident who lives on the property as a licensee. This means that even though the person is not liable to pay rent or is listed as a tenant, they have permission to stay in the property.

Does Having A Permitted Occuioper Affect Council Tax?

Yes, having a permitted occupier live with you can affect your council tax bill. Since a full council tax bill is based on a minimum of two adults living in the household, you may have to pay the full amount even in months during which the permitted occupier does not live with you. However, this is only the case when you and the permitted occupier who lives with you are the only two adults sharing the premises at any given time.

This means that even though permitted occupiers don’t have to pay council tax (while you are staying in the property), their presence can affect the single-person discount on council tax the tenant may be able to avail if they are the only adult living in the property in the absence of the permitted occupier. 

A single-person discount is a 25% reduction in the annual council tax bill that adults who live by themselves can enjoy. If you have a permitted occupier living with you who affects your single-person discount, you should inform the local council office of the months that they live with you versus the months they don’t (if this is how the living arrangement is managed). You may be able to avail of a council tax discount in the months that the permitted occupier does not live with you.

What Is The Difference Between A Permitted Occupier And A Lodger?

The main difference between a permitted occupier and a lodger is that a permitted occupier is not liable to pay rent while a lodger pays rent. If you are a tenant, you will need your landlord’s permission if you need to add a permitted occupier or a lodger to your living space. 

However, lodgers are usually brought in by homeowners who need someone to share the rent with them and are willing to offer a shared living space with them.

While landlords may add a certain amount of council tax to a lodger’s rent, since permitted occupiers are not liable for any payments to the tenant or the landlord, they have no financial responsibility towards housing costs.


The above discussion helps to conclude that a permitted occupier does not have any responsibility towards housing costs; including council tax; especially in the presence of the tenant.


What is a permitted occupier?

Permitted Occupiers: Everything you need to know when renting a property

Paying council tax – Citizens Advice