Council tax is a means-tested, property-based taxation system that also takes into account the number of people living in a house, as well as their age and roles towards the household. Therefore, the eligibility for council tax is multifaceted. You must be above 18 years of age, owning or renting a property in England, Scotland or Wales, working or unemployed to qualify for a council tax bill. To qualify for full council tax payments, there must be 2 adults occupying and sharing premises. 

Does My Partner Need To Pay Council Tax If They Are Staying Over?

Whether or not your partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/friend(s) need to pay council tax while staying over at your place depends on the duration and nature of their stay. If they have their own place and a council tax bill to their name, whether they stay over weekends or stay over at your place for a few weeks will not affect your council tax bill or any discounts that you are eligible for such as council tax reduction due to single occupancy. 

However, should their stay be extended enough or frequent enough that your home becomes their main residence, you may lose your single-occupant discount if you were previously eligible for. If they don’t have another property to declare as their main residence or they don’t have a council tax bill to their name, you might lose your council tax discount due to their extended stay. Unless you inform your local council office of the change in your living conditions and your partner contributes to your council tax bill which would be charged in full.

If you are an adult but your partner is below 18 years of age, or if they are staying over to be taken care of due to medical reasons or they have a disability, their stay may not affect your council tax payments. It is advisable to inform your local council authorities and seek their advice as each council has its own taxation and discount scheme. 

If your home has been occupied by two adults prior to your partner staying in and you are paying a full council tax bill, in that case, it would not matter whether a third person stays at your place as you are already paying a full council tax bill.

If your partner spends more than 6 months in a year at your place, they may consider adding your home as their main residence and applying for a second home discount on their own premises. For this, you may require to consult your respective local council offices to learn about each council’s taxation and discount schemes in this regard. They will also guide you on the required documentation and/or evidence that may be required to proceed with such an application. Find your local council website to learn more about your council tax dues in particular situations.

Only in the case of civil partnership or marriage can both residents of a household be jointly and severally liable for council tax bills.

The purpose of this article is to focus on the concerns regarding council tax payments in the case of multiple occupants of a house and how does one manage council tax payments in such situations. To learn more, we will try to answer the below questions: 

  • Will My Council Tax Bill Change If A Lodger Moves In With Me?
  • Who Is Counted As Disregarded From Council Tax Bills? 
  • What is A Second Adult Rebate?
  • What Is A Single Person Discount?
  • How Much Council Tax Should I Pay If I Am Living In Two Places?
  • What Are Second Home Discounts?

Will My Council Tax Bill Change If A Lodger Moves In With Me?

If you were living alone prior to the lodger sharing premises with you, you would have been receiving a single occupant’s council tax discount on your bill This discount will now become invalid now that there will be two adults sharing the premises.

However, if the lodger is a full-time student or younger than 18 years of age, you may still be eligible for a discount on your council tax bill. You should inform your local council office to share these changes and seek their advice on how to proceed with a formal application so that there is no nonfactual statement appearing in your council tax records and a lapse of time does not lead to backdated council tax dues to recover amounts that were due since the change in your situation. 

Who Is Counted As Disregarded From Council Tax Bills?

If a resident falls into any of the below categories, they are “not counted” for council tax bills or are considered as “disregarded”. They may be:

  • residents under 18 years of age
  • residents between 18 and 19 years of age who have just finished school
  • residents who are full-time students 
  • residents who are student nurses or youth training trainees and apprentices
  • partners, spouses, or dependents of a student who are non-British
  • people whose main home is either a hospital, care home or hospice 
  • people who mainly live in a hostel or night shelter
  • someone who severely mentally impaired
  • care workers 
  • people caring for someone with a disability (this cannot be a spouse, partner or child under 18)
  • armed forces personnel 
  • members of religious communities 

If all the residents of a household are disregarded, they will be able to avail a 50 per cent discount on their council tax bills. 

What is A Second Adult Rebate?

A second adult rebate is an alternative to council tax discounts and is applicable in cases where two adults may be living together but are not partners/ spouses, joint owners or landlord and tenant. In this case, there is only one person liable for council tax payments as they are either the owner of the property or have signed a tenancy agreement with the owner.

To qualify for a second adult rebate, the liable person does not need to be on low income. In fact, at times individuals who are unable to qualify for a council tax reduction due to high income and capital are those who may be eligible for a second adult rebate. However, it essential in such cases that the second adult living with them is either on a low income (more than 60 per cent less than the median living wage) or receiving benefits.

What Is A Single Person Discount?

If you live alone or are the only adult in the household, you are eligible for a 25 per cent discount on your council tax bills (irrespective of your income or savings). This is a single person discount on council tax. To avail of this discount, you must inform your local council office of your circumstances so that your bills may be adjusted appropriately. To apply for a council tax benefit, click here Apply for Council Tax Reduction – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

How Much Council Tax Should I Pay If I Am Living In Two Places?

You will be required to pay council tax on both properties if you are living in two places. However, one of these will qualify as your main home and chances are that unless specific criteria apply, you will pay a full council tax for it. The second property may classify as a second home or holiday home, depending upon the amount of time you spend there. This may be eligible for a council tax discount, but there are certain factors that must be taken into consideration.

What Are Second Home Discounts?

These are further categorised into Local Discounts and National Discounts.

Local discounts qualify one of your properties as the main residence which is due for a full council tax; unless you are the sole adult occupying it or you live alone. Your other property is considered as a second home that may be furnished, used as per your convenience and may even belong to a higher valuation band than the main residence. Depending upon each council’s tax schene and the discretion of their decision, while some councils may consider a second home for a 50 per cent discount, while others may not.

On the other hand, National Discounts are applicable for individuals who are required to maintain a second home due to the nature of their employment or due to proximity to their workplace. They are most applicable in the case of personnel of the Armed Forces who often maintain a personal residence, in addition to a government-assigned one. In such cases, your second home becomes eligible for a 50 per cent discount. There is no council tax due upon Armed Forces personnel on their government-assigned residence.

Conclusion:

From the above discussion, it may be safe to conclude that as long as someone is paying council tax bills on the property that they own or rent and their stay at a partner’s residence is temporary they are not required to contribute towards a second council tax bill. 

Similarly, if they fall into the category of exempted or disregarded individuals, no council tax payment is due upon them either. Neither do these situations impact the single occupant discount that their partner may be in receipt of.

However, it is advisable to inform local councils whenever individuals experience a change in their living arrangements so that prompt and apt guidance may be provided to them; and there are no unpleasant surprises in the form of council tax dues.

FAQs: Does My Partner Need To Pay Council Tax If They Are Staying Over?

Does Council Tax depend on the number of occupants?

Yes, council tax depends on the number of occupants. A full council tax bill applies in case of a property occupied by 2 adults. In cases where properties are occupied by a single adult because they live alone or share the premises with residents below the age of 18 years, being the sole adult qualifies them for a 25 per cent reduction on their council tax bills. 

How do I prove Council Tax single occupancy?

Local councils will ask for relevant documentation (may vary from council to council) to prove your single occupancy status., Additionally, they may also verify your living arrangements through periodic reviews, third party checks on your financial and credit referencing details, as well as counter checking of data through other public organisation/

Do you pay more council tax for 2 adults?

In comparison to a 25 per cent discount for single occupancy, it may seem so, but you actually pay a full council tax bill for 2 adults. However, if the second adult is on low income or benefits, you may qualify for a council tax reduction.

Is council tax per person or per house?

It’s actually neither. Council tax is applied on the property’s valuation band based upon its market value. The residents become liable for council tax bills as per the annual charge calculated by local councils from their property’s value. In the case of 2 adults occupying a property, they become jointly liable for council tax payments.

How much is the council tax reduction for single occupancy?

Single occupancy qualifies its resident for a 25 per cent discount on their council tax bill.

References:

council tax – how long can someone ‘lodge’ before they are legally bound to pay it? – hotukdeals

Council Tax – Home

Covid drove us to share a home but what are council tax implications?

Paying the right level of Council Tax: a plain English guide to Council Tax

Check if you can get a second adult rebate on your council tax

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.