How Many Names Can Be On My Council Tax Bill?

This blog post answers the question “How Many Names Can Be On My Council Tax Bill?” It establishes that the owner of a property is named on a Council Tax Bill and there can be at most two people, in most cases a husband and wife who are billed jointly for the amount.

How Many Names Can Be On My Council Tax Bill?

A maximum of 2 names can theoretically be mentioned on your council tax bill as owners of the property. Other people might be stated as residents or tenants or children living with their parent(s). So the council tax bill will usually just have your name on it.

Your council tax bill’s contents mostly consist of calculations, accounting of different council tax expenses you are billed for and their rate, as well as the basic council tax being charged on your property. Reductions and benefits you or your spouse are claiming are also considered when working out your yearly council tax entitlement. 

So as just your income, benefits and savings are being considered, and you are also the main person responsible for paying the council tax bill, other people’s names cannot be stated on the document. Your account number is also your unique personal ID, which is also in your (one person’s) legal name.

What are the Council Tax payment rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?

Here are the eligibility criteria for roommates :

Sharing a home requires that each roommate has a room with (applicable after 1st October 2018)  :

  • A minimum surface of 6.51 m2 (for a person aged 10 years or over) 
  • A minimum surface of 10.22 m2  for 2 people (aged 10 years or over)
  • A minimum surface of 4.64 m2 (for a child aged under 10years)

This rule is established when each roommate signs an individual lease. 

Open to all, shared accommodation can be accessible to students, employees, young professionals, employees on work-study contracts or temporary workers. On the other hand, depending on the status of each person, the landlord is entitled to modulate the duration of the contract (provided that it is an individual lease).  

In a furnished shared apartment or any other kind of property the lease can therefore last for 5 years.

A civil union couple or a couple who are married at the time of signing the lease cannot be considered as co-tenants in the apartment. 

A House in Multiple Occupation could be :

  • A shared house or an apartment
  • A hotel or property being used as one (shared by 3 or more unrelated people from 2 or more different households)
  • A hostel for school or college students 
  • A house split into several bedrooms with cooking areas attached or bedsits

What are the advantages of living in Houses in Multiple Occupation (being billed for tax jointly)?

  • Reduction in the cost of rent
  • Sharing of expenses (rental charges, electricity, internet subscription…),
  • Larger living area, 
  • The right to housing benefit
  • Possibility to write a cohabitation pact containing an internal regulation, a list of common expenses and the conditions of departure. 
  • The landlord has a greater legal responsibility

What are the different types of leases for HMOs?

In shared housing, the lease can take the form of : 

  • A single lease signed with the landlord by all the tenants,
  • An individual lease with the owner for each roommate. 
  • The single lease: All the co-tenants sign the same lease with the owner.  

In summary : 

  • The standard contract differs depending on whether the apartment is rented empty or furnished, 
  • Any tenant who does not sign the single lease cannot be considered as a co-tenant,
  • The inventory of fixtures must be done in the presence of all the co-tenants: 
  • A security deposit may be requested by the landlord, 
  • It will be returned to the last tenant leaving the premises.
  • A deposit may be required individually or for all the roommates (decision of the landlord),
  • The co-tenants can choose a collective or individual home insurance. 

The individual lease is when each roommate signs an independent lease agreement with the landlord. 

What information does the lease (license) of the HMO need to provide? 

Each individual lease contract must specify  :

  • The room in the apartment that each roommate has exclusive use of 
  • The common areas (living room, bathroom, kitchen) available to all roommates.
  • Each roommate must pay : His/her share of the rent,  any amount due to the landlord as indicated in the contract and a deposit can be taken individually or for all the roommates (decision of the landlord),
  • Each roommate must subscribe to a home insurance contract. It is advisable to take out the same insurance as the other roommates. 

The shared lease with a couple’s agreement

What is a marriage agreement for the married couples allowance? 

A marriage agreement (or prenuptial agreement) is a legal document signed by a married couple before marriage, with the written permission of an attorney. It is the proof of their union under government laws and creates a single entity between two individuals through the bond of marriage. 

You must produce a marriage agreement in order to benefit from the married couples allowance. The amount of support you will get under this allowance can be calculated here

In case one or both of you were born after 6th of April 1935, you can claim the Marriage Allowance instead. To qualify for the marriage allowance your income must be below your Personal Allowance. Your partner’s income must be between £12,571 and £50,270. 

The Marriage Allowance is more of a transfer of income from one partner to the other to pay council tax, whereas the Married Couples Allowance is an actual benefit granted on the level of income a couple (the higher income holder) has.

The Married Couples Allowance continues for the remainder of the tax year even if one partner dies, or a couple files for divorce

During the whole duration of the lease, the rent and the rental charges must be paid by the roommates and paid to the owner. 

But what happens in case of unpaid rent ? 

In the case of unpaid rent, the landlord can include a marriage agreement in the rental contract. It allows him to protect himself from the risks of unpaid rent since the co-tenants declare themselves jointly and severally liable. 

With a marriage certificate or agreement in place

Each roommate commits to pay the share of the unpaid roommates, i.e. the total amount due to the owner. Each roommate (or guarantor for the roommate) is responsible for all the sums due to the landlord.  

Without a marriage agreement

In case of unpaid rent, each tenant (or guarantor for the tenant) can only be sued by the landlord for the payment of his share. 

What is the Flatmate agreement?

A Flatmate agreement is a legal document agreed to by the residents of a property, who are cohabitating. This agreement establishes the responsibilities and etiquette for living together and creates red lines for the occupants of a property which are useful in dispute resolution.

The Flatmate agreement is legally binding

You can create residency rules under the terms of the Flatmate Agreement, these include rules relating to the following:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Parties and Celebrations
  • Rules for guests to be permitted accommodation and restrictions on their behavior
  • Rules for the protection of personal property
  • Kitchen use schedules
  • Cleaning responsibilities

The starting date of the tenancy agreement is also mentioned on the Flatmate agreement and the end date of the tenancy can be chosen (as the end date) for the FlatMate agreement as well.

Shared accommodation is formalized by the conclusion of several contracts between each of the tenants and the landlord. 

The lease for a student roommate

The rental contract for students is not different from other rental contracts. However, for a furnished flat share, the student can benefit from a contract with a reduced duration of nine months.

What are the benefits of the marriage agreement for a property with more than one resident?

In a single-tenant lease, the marriage (certificate) legally binds the tenants together. Each tenant who holds the lease must pay the rent and the charges. In other words, the co-tenants are jointly and severally liable for the non-payment of the others. This brings more security to the landlord.

Being married implies many commitments for the co-tenants as well as for the guarantor. For this reason, when signing the lease, it is recommended to verify whether or not it is included in the roommate agreement.

Is there any couples allowance or rent discount for an unmarried or cohabiting couple?

No, there is no specific married couples allowance for tenants that are not married. There can be shared payments of rent by unmarried or cohabitating couples, which are based on a joint lease.

In terms of renting an apartment, cohabitation does not have a specific legal framework. It is similar to a classic shared tenancy and the landlord is therefore strongly advised to insert a marriage clause (or civil union agreement)  in order to protect himself from any risk of unpaid rent.

Nevertheless, if only one of the two cohabitants signs the lease. In this case, the marriage/ civil union clause is not necessary since the signatory will be the only one who will have to carry out all the obligations of the contract and in particular the payment of the rent and housing charges.

The Married Couples Allowance

Marriage automatically induces a notion of unity on the part of the two spouses, thus, within the framework of the renting of a property, the two spouses are automatically co-holders of the lease.

They are therefore jointly and severally liable in the eyes of the law for the performance of all the obligations of the rental contract and in particular for the payment of the rent and the charges, even if the lease was signed by one of the spouses before the pronouncement of their marriage.

Their co-holding of the lease only ends if both spouses decide to leave the residence after the notice period. Nevertheless, the latter can also end at the time of divorce 

Thus, if only one of the two spouses takes leave of the property, he or she will remain under the legal terms of the marriage contract, until the divorce is pronounced.

The Married Couples Allowance for a civil union couple

For couples united by a civil partnership, the lease can be signed by both partners or by only one of them. Nevertheless, in both cases, they remain jointly and severally liable to pay the rent and charges for the duration of the civil union

In this case, if one of the partners decides to leave the property, he/she remains jointly and severally liable until the other decides to leave as well or until the dissolution of their union.

Are people living in collective housing with rooms for private and common use liable to be billed for council tax?

The category of “collective houses” includes all buildings which are intended, by their very nature and their particular installations, for the habitation and accommodation of a certain number of persons belonging to specific categories of the population. This is the case, in particular, for welfare institutions, religious institutions, workers’ homes and retirement homes.

Generally speaking, it is appropriate to apply the general principles set out above to persons housed in such conditions and, more specifically, to determine whether the occupation of the premises personally assigned to these persons is sufficiently private and permanent, taking into account the particularities and constraints of this type of housing.

Educational establishments and university residences managed by the regional centers for university and school works or by organizations that make access to housing subject to financial and occupancy conditions are exempt from council tax.

Are people in assistance establishments liable to be named in the Council Tax Entitlement?

Given the conditions under which accommodation or hospitalization is carried out (generally in common) in private assistance establishments, retirement homes for the infirm or incurable and orphanages, the housing tax must be established under a single rating in the name of the establishment, which alone can be considered as having the disposal of the premises 

As a result, the assisted persons are not personally liable for the housing tax 

The contribution applies to all premises: premises allocated to assisted persons, premises for administrative use, meeting rooms, etc.

Can residents of Religious establishments be mentioned on a council tax bill?

In view of the particular conditions of religious life and the summary nature of the living quarters assigned to them, members of religious communities and congregations cannot be considered as having private and personal use of the cells they occupy. They are therefore not personally liable for the housing tax.

It is therefore the community or congregation that has the premises at its disposal.

As a result, the overall taxation must be established in the name of the superior of these communities or congregations, in its capacity (as representative of the congregation or community). 

The council tax liability falls jointly on the religious congregation with no reason to divide the assessment among the various members (of these associations) or to deduct from the bases of this taxation the rental value of the premises used for the personal housing of the said members 

On the other hand, the rental value of premises specially assigned to uses that are expressly exempted, such as premises intended for the housing of pupils in a congregation providing education, must be excluded 

Workers’ homes

The “foyers-hotels” are generally intended for the accommodation of young workers or foreign workers who have, for a moderate rent, personal rooms summarily furnished.

Where the tenants of these furnished rooms can be considered as having private use of these premises, it is appropriate to consider( in view of the usual duration of their stay and the conditions of occupation including, in particular, the allocation of individual rooms) that each of them must be personally liable for the housing tax.


This blog post addressed the question “How Many Names Can Be On My Council Tax Bill?” We go through the payment options for cohabitants and state the owners of some properties who cannot be mentioned in or billed for Council Tax. The name mentioned on the Council tax bill is the same as the name on the Official Copies of the Register and Title Plan of the property (as entered at the time of purchase).

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below :

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) : How Many Names Can Be On My Council Tax Bill?

What information do I need to carry out a council tax transaction?

The first time that you carry out a council tax transaction you will need your first name, last name and council tax account number. You will also be asked to answer 2 of the following questions for security reasons:

  • Online Key
  • Current Postcode
  • Last 3 digits of the telephone number mentioned in your council tax records
  • The last 3 digits of the bank account number you use to pay for Direct Debit

What will happen to my previous transaction history?

  • Any transactions that you have already completed and submitted will be processed
  • Any transactions started but not completed and submitted will be lost
  • Council tax customers will be able to access copies of their bills and any recovery notices they have received at their current address, within the past 10 years. When you register for your new account you will not see any of your previous transactions as the council does not save your transaction history.

Why do I have to pay for services I don’t use, in my tax bill?

The tax system is generally prescribed by the Government which legislates the charges to be included in the tax bill. These charges are payments for the benefits and programmes provided by your Council to the community as a whole and the extra amounts prescribed to be added to your bill by the Greater London Authority.

So the council tax bill is not a bill for any personal purchase or social benefit utilization. It is a mandatory payment linked to your ownership of a home in a certain Tax Council and your residence there. This residence makes you a part of the social, educational, health care and environmental problems and benefit initiatives in that Council. 

The main part of your council tax bill is for your residence and only a small fraction is charged to fund services in the council budget. The main functional logic of creating Councils as administrative regions and collecting tax is that of collectivism, which on a more general level is also evident in being citizens of the same country (whose standard of living only increases if such services are provided to all by mechanisms such as Tax Councils)


Council Tax for Civil Partners 2005