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To think paying 75% of the council tax is unfair?

(154 Posts)
NotaSpringChicken Wed 27-Feb-19 21:40:52

Any council officers on here at present? Advice appreciated please.

DD has just moved into a shared house with another young woman. It is DDs first job after 4 years as a student and her first house share. The other girl is a mature student, still at Uni, so far so good.

Today council tax bill arrives. DD is expected to pay 75% of the tax as the other girl is a student and therefore exempt. This means DD picks up the whole bill with a 25% discount while the other girl has no bill to pay. She is upset and worried as money is tight for her.

Is the council entitled to do this to DD? She had expected to pay 50% of the bill and the other 50% to be covered by her housemate's student exemption.

WallisFrizz Wed 27-Feb-19 21:58:06

Actually I think I’m doing a complete u-turn. Reading the link, I think it is clear that it is only households that are wholly made up of students that are exempt. Once they choose to live together the household is liable for the tax, but they get the reduction based on the student status. Apologies to whoever I corrected before.

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 27-Feb-19 21:58:13

@tenbob no the council tax bill dues not apply to a student.

NameChanger22 Wed 27-Feb-19 21:58:16

I think generally speaking single people should only pay 50% council tax, I don't understand why they have to pay 75%, but that's a whole other thread.

Students shouldn't have to pay any council tax as they usually don't earn any money.

KanielOutis Wed 27-Feb-19 21:58:48

I work in Council Tax. A household full of students is exempt. As in no bill to pay. A household a mix and the students are 'disregarded'. There is a difference as the other adults are considered on their own merit. In this case your daughter is solely liable with a student disregard discount (25% off).

HappyMama01 Wed 27-Feb-19 21:59:00

When me and my husband were in a house share with 10 other people (who were all students) we were expected to pay council tax as we weren't students.

Sorry, but that's just how it is.

bigbluebus Wed 27-Feb-19 21:59:10

From Citizens Advice website:
What happens if someone you share with isn't a full-time student?
If you live with someone who isn't a full-time student, the property will not be exempt from council tax and a bill will be issued. However, whoever is liable to pay the council tax might qualify for a discount.

For example, if you share with an employed person or a part-time student, they will probably be liable for 75 per cent of the council tax bill. There is a 25 per cent discount because there is only one eligible adult in the property, you as the full-time student, are disregarded when counting the number of eligible adults in the property for discount purposes.

If you share with two or more employed people who are not students, they are likely to be liable for 100 per cent of the council tax bill, unless one or both of them qualifies as a disregarded person for council tax discount purposes. In this situation the local authority can only pursue the non-students for payment of the council tax bill.

Special rules apply where you live only with your non-British spouse, partner or dependant. Speak to an adviser if you're in this situation.

So my interpretation of the above is that your DD is the liable person and her student house mate is not liable.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 27-Feb-19 21:59:55

The council is definitely correct.

If money’s going to be tight, she could try asking the council to split the bill over 12 months rather than 10.

NotaSpringChicken Wed 27-Feb-19 22:01:31


I asked if anyone knew what the legal position was and didn't state that the other girl should pay. I asked if the council were correct to apply this formula. Typical Mumsnet to jump in without reading the post.


DD had expected the student's exemption to cover half the bill not just 25% of it. She didn't know this girl well when they agreed to house share. I guess it is a lesson in life for her, but an expensive one.

If the council are legally entitled to apply this formula then there is nothing DD can do about it. DD is naive and it didn't occur to her that this would happen as it is her first house share.

heartshapedpositnotes Wed 27-Feb-19 22:01:35

Did they decide to move in together into this new place, rather than your daughter being the primary tenant and deciding afterwards to enlist her friend?

Having been a student in several shared places (but always with other students), i would pay half of the council tax as a student as an unofficial tax for living with an employed friend. I wouldn't want my friend to be footing more of the bills when she could have got a non-student instead.

MyNewBearTotoro Wed 27-Feb-19 22:01:54

It’s unfortunate for your DD that by living with a student, who is exempt from the bill and treated as if she’s not there, that she is the only person in the house paying council tax. That means she’s entitled to the single person discount, but this is only 25%. So yes, your DD is responsible for all of the bill.

Having been a student for four years herself and presumably not paying council tax in that time she should have known her student friend would still be exempt from this so I’m not sure how it’s come as a surprise?

PersonaNonGarter Wed 27-Feb-19 22:02:51

Why is this news to your DD? And why do you think it is unfair?

Grace212 Wed 27-Feb-19 22:04:54

yes, it sounds like your DD has been caught out more by the crappy discount for a single occupant - she thought it would be 50% but alas, no.

I will never understand why council tax isn't per person but that's a whole other thread...

Alicesweewonders Wed 27-Feb-19 22:07:27

Is there a lock on her bedroom door? I was in a similar situation, I went to citizens advice and if she doesn't have access to the full property, then she is merely renting a room & the landlord was responsible for Council tax. This is what happened to me. I would confirm with CA though as this was 10 years ago.

heartshapedpositnotes Wed 27-Feb-19 22:09:04

Cross-posted with others - it seems that students and non-students should live with their own demographic. But for the sake of one party paying, for example 75 quid a month (at the cheap level of council tax minus 25%), someone knowingly going into that household should 'ethically' pay towards that, if it hasn't been discussed/thought of beforehand.

Lightofday Wed 27-Feb-19 22:09:20

This is the sort of thing you are supposed to discuss before moving in with someone. Your daughter can't now ask the flatmate to contribute. That's why students tend to stay with other students. Clearly neither of them knew about this...but it is your daughters bill to pay either way. If i was the student flatmate and i found out about it I might be nice and suggest paying something towards it. But it would be cheeky for your daughter to ask for a contribution.

NotaSpringChicken Wed 27-Feb-19 22:09:29


DD lived at home as a student to save money, so this was not something she had considered. It has come as a shock to her, but it will cost her a lot of money. A valuable lesson in life I guess.

BackforGood Wed 27-Feb-19 22:09:31

I don't know why people are so surprised that this is surprise to the OP's dd.

tbf - it isn't going to be the first question when you are looking for somewhere to live, fresh out of university, starting your first job. You look if the room is big enough; you might look at parking or at public transport to work; you look at what the rent is; you might think to look to see if it is next door to a pub or above a takeaway; you look at the bathroom and the kitchen; and you chat to the other person and see if you think you can get on with them.

I was talking to a recent graduate quite recently who said she was shocked at how much council tax was, when she got her first bill. She said, she was kind of vaguely aware that there was a thing called council tax, but was just shocked how much it was. Never having had to pay it, it wasn't really on her radar.
Not that odd at all, IMO.

VanGoghsDog Wed 27-Feb-19 22:10:27

Students shouldn't have to pay any council tax as they usually don't earn any money.

Except it's not income tax. The student still has to pay other taxes despite no earnings - like VAT, car/road tax if they drive, tax on fuel, tax on insurance, tax on utilities, tax on flights, sugar tax.....

So, it's nothing to do with them not earning. I've no idea what it is to do with but it's not that.

Yes the formula is right. It's 75%.

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 27-Feb-19 22:10:28

DD had expected the student's exemption to cover half the bill not just 25% of it.
The student exemption covers 100% of the bill. Your dd receives a 25% discount on the 100% of the bill that is owed.

mkmo Wed 27-Feb-19 22:11:04

Yes, that would be correct. Your DD is entitled to pay that money. She can apply for a council tax reduction if she is on a low income.

caringcarer Wed 27-Feb-19 22:11:30

When your dd was a student she was exempt from council tax. Now she is no longer a students and she is liable to pay 75% as a single person. The student is not liable to pay anything. This is life.

dementedpixie Wed 27-Feb-19 22:12:36

The 25% is due to the student not counting as another adult in the household. Your dd is getting the same council tax discount she would get if she lived there alone. If she's on a low wage she could see if she qualifies for council tax reduction too

Jon65 Wed 27-Feb-19 22:13:00

If your daughter is on a low wage she can apply for council tax benefit (reduction) and housing benefit. There is a calculator on her local authority's website, which will tell her if she would qualify.

caringcarer Wed 27-Feb-19 22:14:08

OP can you afford to help your dd out with some of the bill to help her get on her feet?

NotaSpringChicken Wed 27-Feb-19 22:16:47


Thank you, I will advise her to look into this.

It looks as if she can leave after 6 months, better to house share with other employed adults.


DD lived at home as a student with all bills paid, she is now learning about life the hard way. It is what it is.

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