Toggle menu

Who has to pay Council Tax

You usually have to pay Council Tax if you are 18 or over and own or rent a home. Council Tax is normally paid by the person living at the property, but there are a few circumstances where the owner is responsible for paying Council Tax.

It is the responsibility of the owner to pay Council Tax for:

  • Empty properties 
  • Nursing homes and other similar homes
  • Houses of religious communities
  • Houses in multiple occupation (where rooms are let individually)
  • Residences of staff who live in houses which are also occupied by an employer
  • Residences of ministers of religion.

If you rent a property and think that your landlord or somebody else should be paying the property's Council Tax, you should contact us for advice.

Order of liability

If you are the occupier and over 18, you are liable for paying Council Tax. If you live as a couple (married, cohabiting, or in a civil partnership), you are both equally liable for paying Council Tax, as a couple and as individuals. It does not matter whose name is on the Council Tax bill. 

If a number of people live in a property, there is a process for determining the order of liability.

The order of liability is:

  1. A resident owner-occupier who is the freeholder of all or part of the property
  2. A resident owner-occupier who is the leaseholder of all or part of the property
  3. A resident tenant
  4. A resident who lives in the property and who is not a tenant, but has permission to stay there
  5. Any other resident living in the property
  6. Mortgage in possession of an owner's interest
  7. An owner of the property where no one is resident. If you move in, your Council Tax liability is calculated on a daily basis.

Empty properties Council Tax

Council Tax will be charged at the full rate on all long-term empty properties. 

In certain circumstances, some dwellings will not be classed as long-term empty dwellings. The majority of these exemptions are determined by Central Government and Legislation.

Empty Homes Review

You may have recently received a review letter about the occupancy status of your property. In support of the Government's initiative to tackle the shortfall in national housing, South Ribble Borough Council is currently undertaking a review of empty Council Tax properties.

Please complete the Empty Homes Review to update the property records for your address. It will take 5-10 minutes to complete, and you will need the passcode numbers on your review letter. The review is being managed on behalf of the council by Capacitygrid.  

Complete the Empty Homes Review

Empty property Council Tax charges and exemptions


Exempt Class

Type of Property

Period of Exemption

Class of property after prescribed period

A (Former)Property in need or undergoing major repairs12 monthsLong term empty
BUnoccupied, owned by a charity6 monthsLong term empty
C (Former)Empty and unfurnished for up to six months6 monthsLong term empty
DEmpty due to a person being in prisonIndefiniteNot applicable
EEmpty due to a person having gone to live in a care homeIndefiniteNot applicable
FCouncil tax payer deceased6 months from Grant of probateLong term empty
GOccupation prohibited by lawIndefiniteNot applicable
KDwelling left empty by a studentIndefiniteNot applicable
LUnoccupied dwelling where a mortgage is in possessionIndefiniteNot applicable
RCaravan pitches and boat mooringsIndefiniteNot applicable
WDependent relativeIndefiniteNot applicable
HUnoccupied dwelling held for a Minister of religionIndefiniteNot applicable
IPerson living elsewhere to receive personal careIndefiniteNot applicable
JDwelling left empty by a person providing personal careIndefiniteNot applicable
QDwelling left empty by a bankruptIndefiniteNot applicable


Empty Property Premium

If your property has been empty and unfurnished (long-term empty) for a period longer than two years, Council Tax will be charged as per the table below.

Effective dateEmpty periodPremiumTotal Charge
1 April 20202-5 years100%200%
 5 years +200%300%
1 April 202110 years +300%400%


The following types of property are excluded from these provisions:

  • A dwelling that is the sole or main residence of a member of the armed forces who is absent due to service
  • An annexe treated as part of the main dwelling

Please note: The premium charge also does not apply if your property falls into one of the above exempt classes.

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email