Who has to pay Council Tax?
To find out who is responsible for the bill, we ask who is living there, and what interest they have in the property.
You are responsible for paying the bill if you are the freeholder or leaseholder of a property and you live in it as your main or only home.
If you are living in a property as:
- a statutory or secure tenant
- under a licence
- as your main home
and you are aged 18 or over you are responsible for paying Council Tax.
No-one is living in the property
If there is no-one living in the property as their main or only home, then the owner is liable to pay Council Tax.
Joint and several liability
Joint and several liability is a legal term which means that each person with the same level of interest in a property is equally responsible for paying the Council Tax.
We will issue the Council Tax bill in more than one name if you:
- own your property jointly with another person or other people
- have a joint tenancy with another person or other people
- are married
- are part of a civil partnership
- live with someone else as part of a couple
If you are named on the bill you are jointly and severally liable if it is unpaid. This means that you are not responsible just for your portion of the bill, but for ensuring that the whole bill is paid. If the bill is not paid, we can pursue any of the individuals named on it for the whole amount.
It is important that if more than one person is named on your bill, you make arrangements between you to ensure we receive the full payment on time.
Students are not jointly or severally liable in cases where they live with non-students.
As a landlord you are responsible for paying Council Tax if the property is designated as a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
An HMO is a house or flat that is lived in by one or more people who are not part of a single household such as bedsits, halls of residence, hostels, nurses’ homes and homes shared by people who are not on the same tenancy.
You are also liable for the Council Tax if you own:
- residential care homes
- nursing homes
- property lived in by religious communities
- homes of ministers of religion
- homes provided for asylum seekers under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
If you have a tenant or joint tenants who have a tenancy agreement with you, they are responsible for paying the Council Tax.
Your Council Tax bill
There is only one Council Tax bill for each property.
The bill is addressed to the person(s) we believe is liable to pay. If it is addressed to the "Council Tax Payer" you must contact us on 020 8430 2000 and let us know the name(s) of the person(s) responsible for paying.
It will be up to the person named on the bill to collect payments from anyone else living in the property who they consider should contribute towards the tax.
You can pay your bill in one lump sum or by instalments over ten months from April to January.
Payments must reach your account on or before the due date on your bill.
You can pay your council tax in the following ways:
at your local bank branch
using your bank's payment slips (you may be charged by your bank for this service)
at a Post Office or PayPoint outlet, taking your Council Tax bill with you to be scanned.
make your cheque payable to ‘London Borough of Newham’ and write your Council Tax account number, name and address on the back of the cheque.
Send your cheque to:
1000 Dockside Road
If you have any difficulty paying your Council Tax, please telephone our Contact Centre on 020 8430 2000 as soon as you realise you are unable to pay.
We can arrange alternative ways for you to pay to help you avoid going to court.
Please remember that we are here to help you wherever possible.
Failure to pay
It is important that you pay each monthly instalment on or before the due date. If you are unable to pay, for example due to financial difficulties, please telephone the number shown on your bill to discuss how you can pay.
If you fail to pay by the due date you will be sent a reminder notice, which gives you seven days to bring the instalment up to date.
If payments are not received you will lose your right to pay by instalments and a Magistrates Court Summons for the full amount due will be issued. The cost of the summons will be added to the account.
If you still do not pay we may send our bailiffs to your home. You will incur additional fees for this.
If we have to take you to court, we can recover the Council Tax you owe us by:
- ordering your employer to take the money directly from your wages
- deducting it from your Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance (income based)
- applying for a Charging Order on your house which will mean that you cannot sell it until the Council Tax has been paid
- apply to High Court to declare you bankrupt
- send you to prison for up to three months
Discounts, exemptions and Council Tax Reduction
You can appeal against things like:
- your liability to pay Council Tax
- our designation of your property as an HMO for Council Tax purposes
- our refusal to grant a discount, an exemption or a disabled reduction
If you are moving in or out of the borough or within Newham, you should tell us about your move to make sure you are charged the correct Council Tax. You can fill in the online form or phone us on 020 8430 2000.
Landlords, you should tell us if you have a change of tenant either by filling in the online form or by phoning us on 020 8430 2000.