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to think that all the housemates should pay council tax?

(61 Posts)
InterferingSister Wed 19-Oct-11 09:02:01

This is none of my business but I want to put it to the MN jury anyway smile

Background: My brother shares a house with 5 other people. Four work, including my brother, and two are students. They've all known eachother since uni and have houseshared before with no problems.

They moved into a new house together a couple of months ago and now the two students are refusing to contribute towards the council tax payment. Their argument is that students don't have to pay council tax if they are living by themselves or with other students, so they shouldn't have to pay just because they're living with friends who aren't students. (As they are living in a house where the majority work, this exemption does not apply, nor is there any reduction in the amount payable). The working housemates are a bit like this confused and don't see why they should subsidise their friends' living costs.

Both sides are absolutely convinced that they are right. Neither side will back down on principle and it sounds to me like there could be a major falling-out over this, which would be a crying shame as they've been such good friends for years.

AIBU to think that all the housemates should contribute equally to the council tax and that if the two students didn't want to pay, they shouldn't have agreed to the house share?

AFuckingKnackeredWoman Wed 19-Oct-11 09:04:04

Its a household bill so all should pay it

ColdSancerre Wed 19-Oct-11 09:04:53

YANBU like you say, if they didn't want to pay the two students should have got a house by themselves or just with other students.

lesley33 Wed 19-Oct-11 09:05:40

tbh I can see both sides point. They should have agreed this before they moved in.

Upwardandonward Wed 19-Oct-11 09:05:54

Usually people thrash this out prior to moving in with each other. If they didn't, they are all BU. If they had an agreement and someone's not sticking to it, then they are BU.

squeakyfreakytoy Wed 19-Oct-11 09:10:26

Their choice to live in a place where the exemption doesnt apply, so of course they should be paying it.

CherylWillBounceBack Wed 19-Oct-11 09:13:53

I've had this issue. 3 of us were working and a student came to see the spare room. We explained that they would be expected to contribute to the council tax bill if they wanted to live here, as otherwise we'd choose a working person to live there so the bill could be split 4 ways.

They agreed.

However, I do think this should have been hammered out beforehand as upwardandonward said.

AKMD Wed 19-Oct-11 09:14:43

YANBU. Why would anyone think that they shouldn't pay it? Weird!

Whatmeworry Wed 19-Oct-11 09:15:39

The students are wrong as they only pay no tax if the are in a place with only other students. Getting them out now is a different matter now however.

HollyGoHeavily Wed 19-Oct-11 09:16:16

It's a household expense and so it should be shared equally - the students had the choice to live with other students and avoid Council Tax but they didn't.

catsareevil Wed 19-Oct-11 09:20:43

The council tax bill faced by the working people is no larger than it would be if the students were not there. So if it was just the 4 working people in the house splitting the bill, that will be exactly the same as if there are 6 people, with the 4 splitting the bill.

The students could see it as the working people wanting to be subsidised by the students. The working people want to pay less because the students are there, for a bill that the students on thier own would not be liable for.

I can see both sides of it, and remember this situation from my own student days. On balance though, I think that the working people should split the bill and not expect the students to pay because 1) The working people would have to pay that amount anyway, and the presence of the students doesnt increase the bill 2) Students are usually exempt from council tax.

CherylWillBounceBack Wed 19-Oct-11 09:26:20

catsareevil - but if the two students were not there, then they could get two working pepople in and split 6 ways. Your point is nonsensical. The house is for 6 people!

Maryz Wed 19-Oct-11 09:27:21

I'm not entirely sure that reasoning is correct though cats confused. Presumably if the two students weren't living there, they would get two other housemates. They wouldn't just have four people living in a 6-person house.

So then the tax would be split 6 ways, and would be a third less for all of them.

I think the students have chosen to live in a household where council tax is payable. Therefore they should pay it.

If they don't want to, they need to live in a household where council tax is not payable.

badmummy101 Wed 19-Oct-11 09:27:42

but * cats* if it a house that 6 can share then 6 should be paying, if there were 6 workers in the house the bill would be split 6 ways. the students chose to house share with non students knowing they would be liable.

Maryz Wed 19-Oct-11 09:27:53

Cross-posts Cheryl smile - and yours was much more succinct!

Whatmeworry Wed 19-Oct-11 09:28:46

catsarevil you didn't study maths at Uni I take it smile

porcamiseria Wed 19-Oct-11 09:28:53

students dont pay CT
end of

so just cos they share with non students, why shpuld they pay?

TestAnswers Wed 19-Oct-11 09:30:16

I can see both sides, too. I think the real issue here is that no one thought to agree on this beforehand and decide what the compromise would be and if one couldn't be reached to simply accept that living together isn't a good choice.

Given that neither parties thought about this then I think the finanical disadvantage of this should be split by the students paying half the difference of the 1/6th split and the 1/4th split and the working people paying the 1/4th plus the other half of the difference. I think this is the only fair way to do it (or something similar) as they are all at fault really.

AnnieLobeseder Wed 19-Oct-11 09:30:59

The students have chosen to live in a house without an exemption, so they should pay their share. They have the option to live in a student house if they feel so strongly about it.

InterferingSister Wed 19-Oct-11 09:32:09

TBH I don't know all the ins and outs of it so I don't know when exactly this issue came up, although I'm fairly sure it wasn't until after the move.

catsareevil I think this is the argument they're using. Surely though, if they got a 6 bedroom house on the basis that 6 people would be living there, it makes a difference that the students chose to live with them. If they hadn't, they would have got a smaller house and the council tax bill would be lower anyway. So the bill is higher because of the students.

I think that the fact that students are usually exempt from council tax is irrelevant. They are exempt under certain conditions, which they were aware of, and those conditions don't apply here. Their student status does not make any difference in the situation that they have chosen to put themselves in, in the eyes of the council. Their housemates also don't think it makes any difference. I don't see that they have a leg to stand on.

catsareevil Wed 19-Oct-11 09:32:57

Thats true. They could have 6 working people. It depends on the reasons for the group though. When I was at uni people tended to live in friendship groups, and the reason that this problem arose was when couples lived in shared houses where one of the couple was working and one a student. In that situation it wouldnt be a case of simply shipping in another couple of people.

The OP described it as a friendship group living together, which was why I had thought of it in those terms.

Its a shame that they didnt consider the implications of this before they all moved in together.

Maryz Wed 19-Oct-11 09:35:07

The quickest way for it to stop being a friendship group of course, is for one person to feel hard-done-by. Most friendship breakups are about money sad.

I house-shared with a student once who felt that he shouldn't have to pay for sundries because he didn't have an income confused. So although he paid rent, he refused to pay for tv/heating/bread and milk, and ate everyone else's food.

Needless to say we didn't stay friends.

QuintessentialShadyHallows Wed 19-Oct-11 09:36:31

The students should pay their share. Like the others have said, they could have chosen to live with other students and get the exemption, and the workers could have got two more people who work in and split the bill six ways.

The students are being unreasonable not to pay a shared household bill, as the exemption does not apply in the living circumstances they have chosen.

macsaid Wed 19-Oct-11 09:37:15

students do not pay council tax. as stated on citizens advice website re exempt properties,
'any property that only students or Foreign Language Assistants on the official British Council programme live in. This may be a hall of residence, or a house. If the property is occupied by both students and non-students the property is not exempt but any students in the house are disregarded'

students do not pay council tax!

catsareevil Wed 19-Oct-11 09:37:53

Sorry, that reply was to the earlier posts.

Interfering sister- it wont make any difference in the eyes of the council. Do the students accept the arguement that the tax band is possibly higher because of the students and the need for a bigger house?

Whatever the technical rights and wrongs of this ultimately if they are going to remain friends they need to find some comprimise that everyone can live with.

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