Council tax is one of several important payments you will likely have to make when you move into a property, but a lot of tenants question whether they or the landlord are responsible for payment. In the vast majority of cases, and unless otherwise specified, council tax liability rests with the tenant. If you are in any doubt as to who should be paying
It is your responsibility to inform the council that you have moved into a property, and to either pay the tax or agree to make payments by Direct Debit. You should determine your council tax band, ensure that you are paying the right amount, and consider informing your local council before you even receive the council tax liability letter.
Late payments and missed payments can lead to substantial fines and financial penalties, and if you refuse to pay your council tax you could actually end up with a jail sentence of up to three months.
What Is Council Tax?
Council tax replaced the Community Charge, more commonly known as Poll Tax, in 1993. It is used to pay towards local community services. Council tax proceeds make up 25% of local government spending, with the remainder coming from business rates. Local councils assign the money raised by council tax however they see fit.
Every property is assessed according to the value of the property, rather than by rental value, which is how the old system worked.
How Much Is Council Tax?
There are eight bands of council tax from A to H, with band H being the most expensive and band A the least expensive. In some cases, it might be possible to have your band reduced. This can reduce the payment required for your council tax, but you will need to be able to show that the local council has assigned your property to an incorrect band.
Council tax bands do vary from one local council to another, but you can check on the government website to find your local council. Alternatively, if your property is in Blackpool, you can view their tax bands on the Blackpool Council website.
Council Tax Discounts
Council tax charges are based on two adults living in a property. If this is not the case in your property, it is possible that you could be entitled to a discount.
Single people, students and those in the armed forces may be entitled to a discount, while empty properties and those that form part of a deceased person’s estate, may be entitled to a full discount on that property.
You do need to apply for a council tax discount, and you should inform the council of this as soon as you make the application.
Start Paying Council Tax
Once you move into a new property, the local council eventually send you a new tenant or council tax liability letter. This means that you will usually receive a letter within a few weeks of entering the property. A lot of people are tempted to leave it, believing that it will give them a few weeks before they have to start repaying, but the council will backdate due payments, so this means that you will have a higher first bill to pay.
Alternatively, you can contact your local council as soon as you move into a property. Let them know that you have moved in, and they will calculate your council tax and send a bill. Once you receive this bill, you will be able to apply to pay for your council tax by monthly direct debit. Alternatively, you can pay the whole bill in one go or pay it in two instalments. This is also when you apply for any rebates or discounts that you are entitled to.
Except where stated, Haboth Lettings tenants are liable for council tax payments, as is common practice in the rental industry. If you have any questions about an existing rental through us, or you are interested in one of our properties and have questions about the bills you will face, feel free to call us on 0333 012 4895 or contact us with further questions.