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Council tax and rented accommodation

By Brad Askew on 04/12/2014 with comments

Introduced in 1933 by the Local Government Finance Act 1992, council tax is imposed on households in Britain based on the number of people living in the property and what its value would have been on April 1st 1991 (2005 in Wales). From this, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will give your home a valuation band which determines how much you will be required to pay. Use this quick link to find out which band your property belongs to. 

This useful table demonstrates the valuation bands and the range of values for each band, according to the VOA booklet ‘Understanding your council tax banding’.

Valuation Band

Range of Values


Up to £40,000


Over £40,000 and up to £52,000


Over £52,000 and up to £68,000


Over £68,000 and up to £88,000


Over £88,000 and up to £120,000


Over £120,000 and up to £160,000


Over £160,000 and up to £320,000


Over £320,000

How Does My Council Tax Get Spent?

The collected revenue will contribute to the funding of services provided by local governments across the country, such as rubbish collection, street lighting and schools.

Who Pays Council Tax?

When over the age of 18 you will be responsible to pay council tax. However, there are some who may be exempt from this responsibility and others who may be entitled to a discount.

For example, as a full bill is based on two adults living in a household, if you are living alone, your bill will be reduced by 25% as a Single Occupancy Discount. Also, for those who live with people who are exempt, they will receive a discount on the amount of council tax they are expected to pay. See the ‘Who doesn’t count’ section of the website for further information regarding the council tax exemptions.

Council Tax and Students

As a Student Living With Other Students, Do I Pay Council Tax?

Whilst being 18 or 19 years old in full time education, or a full time university student and living in a household where everyone is of the same criteria, you are exempt from paying council tax. To be classified as a full time student, your course must:

  • be at least 1 year in duration

  • involve at least 21 hours of study a week

Or, if you are under 20 years old and are studying for a qualification up to A Level, your course must:

  • be a least 3 months in duration

  • involve at least 12 months of study a week

If you are given a bill when you should be exempt from the council tax, you can apply for an exemption. This also applies to postgraduate students who often find themselves in difficulty when securing their exemption with local authorities. However, this right is protected under The Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1992.

What If I Live With Non-Students

As a student, living with non-students means your household will receive a bill for the council tax. Personally you will remain exempt and only the non-students will be legally liable to pay. However, is important to decide who will pay the bill and how much each person in the household will pay from the start in order to avoid conflict further down the line. If only one non-student lives in the house, it is possible to apply for the Single Occupancy Discount as only one person will qualify as an adult in regard to the council tax.