How your sole or main residence affects your Council Tax
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How your sole or main residence affects your Council Tax

For Council Tax purposes, you are classed as living at an address if it is your ‘sole or main residence’. 

If you have only one address, that address is your sole residence.
If you spend time at more than one address then we have to decide which address is your main residence.
When we have worked out which address is your main residence, we must only count you as a resident at that address, not at any other address. 

If you are the only person who lives at each address and are the person responsible for paying Council tax , you will qualify for a Single Person Discount at your main residence only.

We will count no residents at the other address, so you will be charged at that address for an unoccupied but furnished property and you will be liable for full council tax.
To claim single person discount use the Top Task on this page.

Click to expandWhat does ‘main residence’ mean?

A person does not necessarily have to be physically present at an address all the time for it to be their main residence. We have to look into the circumstances at each address. The things we have to take into account are:

  • whether they physically reside at each address
  • the reasons why they have two addresses
  • where their wife, husband or partner lives, if they have one
  • where their children live, if they have any
  • their legal tie to each address
  • where they keep most of their belongings
  • whether they intend to return to one address eventually
  • whether anything prevents them from returning whenever they want to
  • which address seems to be their most settled home.

We must also look at the amount of time they spend at each address, but this is not the most important thing.

There is no definition for what ‘main residence’ means within council tax law. However, a number of cases have been before the High Court and the judges’ decisions in those cases have given councils guidelines to follow. Details of some of these cases are given in the document ‘Sole or main residence cases’.​

Click to expandCan I be charged for a property that isn’t my main residence?

Yes. Even though a property is not your main residence, you may still be the person responsible for paying the bill (that is, the liable person). For more information see the document ”Who has to pay Council Tax” in the Documents section on this page which explains how to work out who is the liable to pay.

Click to expandWhat to do if you think we have got your sole or main residence wrong

You need to email us giving your name and address(es) and explain why you think we have made a wrong decision. You can use the Contact us email form on this page.​

Click to expandIf my main or sole residence is empty for less than seven days can I claim a discount?

With effect from 1 April 2014 - a discount of 100% can be granted for a property which is unoccupied and unfurnished for a period of 7 days or less, so no Council Tax is payable for them. However if the property is empty for over 7 days, no discount can be allowed, so full Council Tax is payable from the date the property first became unoccupied and unfurnished. For more information see the related page Empty properties and Council Tax .

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