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Help with council tax

You usually have to pay council tax if you rent or own your home.

Some people do not have to pay.

Citizens Advice have more on who does not have to pay council tax.

When landlords pay the council tax

Your landlord usually pays the council tax if you live:

  • in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) – check with your council if you are not sure

  • with your landlord – for example, you’re a lodger

Landlords sometimes agree to pay in other tenancy types. Check your tenancy agreement.

Single person discount

You get 25% off your council tax bill if you are the only adult in your home.

This could be if:

  • you live by yourself

  • everyone else in your home is under 18, for example, you are a single parent and live with your children

Make sure you apply for the discount through your council. It might not be automatically applied to your bill.

The discount can be backdated.

Council tax reduction

You may get a reduction if you have a low income or receive benefits. 

This is sometimes called 'council tax support'.

You need to apply through your council. You may have to explain how having to pay council tax causes you hardship.

If you're state pension age, you might be able to get a second adult discount instead if you live with someone on a low income.

Other ways to get discounts

The council does not count some people who may live in your home, for example carers.

Check if you can get a reduction or discount.

If you cannot pay your bill or have arrears

Contact your council straight away to explain your situation.

You can offer to set up a payment plan to pay off your arrears.

Find out where to get free debt advice.

Discretionary reduction

Your council may reduce or cancel your bill if you cannot afford to pay it.

They can also write off arrears.

StepChange explains what help you can get if you're in extreme hardship.

Last updated: 16 March 2023

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