We remind you that we have prepared a detailed guide to renting a home in the UK, which answers almost all your questions.
Home rental guide here:https://opora.uk/life-in-the-uk-guides/rent-in-the-uk
More briefly information here:https://opora.uk/life-in-the-uk-guides/rent-in-the-uk#importantaspects
We answered a few questions about Council Tax, but decided to make a separate guide.
Council Tax: what is it?
Council Tax — it`s the annual fee that your local council charges you for the services they provide, such as:
· police and fire services· leisure and recreation projects such as maintenance of parks and sports centers· libraries and educational services· collection and disposal of garbage and waste· transport and road services, including street lighting and cleaning, and road maintenance· environmental protection and trade standards· administration and record keeping, such as marriages, deaths and births, and local elections.
Council Tax is charged in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland a different term is used-domestic rates: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/domestic-rate-poundages
The average tax level can vary greatly even between districts of the same city. Don't be surprised if you pay £100 a month and your friends on the other side of town pay £75 for an identical property.
Council Tax Band
The amount of your payout depends on which Council tax group your property has been awarded.
When you're looking to rent a property, you'll often see ads that say something like
«Council Tax Band C» or Council Tax Band E.
What does it mean?
In Britain, council tax is calculated depending on the "band". Band is assigned by The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), depending on the cost of housing:
· in England and Scotland as of 1 April, 1991
· in Wales on 1 April 2003
More detailed calculation here : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understand-how-council-tax-bands-are-assessed
How to find out your Council tax band?
The general principle is that the earlier the letter of the alphabet, the lower the council tax.
For example, if a dwelling is assigned Council Tax Band A, then the person living in that dwelling will pay the least and Tax Band H - the most.
Using the links below, you can enter your postal code and find out which group is assigned to your property:
England and Wales- https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-bandsScotland - https://www.saa.gov.uk/
On your Council's website you can find how much council tax they charge for each Council Tax Band.
Example, link below on Milton Keynes Council :https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/council-tax/council-tax-information-and-bands
Council Tax - Who Should Pay Council Tax?
Generally, you will have to pay council tax if you are 18 or older.
If there are at least 2 adults living in the house, they will normally have to pay council tax in full.
Who does not count ("not taken into account"):
Some people are not counted ("disregarded") when calculating the number of people living in a property.
You are "disregarded" if you:
· under 18 years old· on some schemes apprentice· 18 or 19 years old in temporary education· full-time college or university student· Ukrainians who came under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and live in the same housing with their sponsors, or in the second housing of their sponsors (more on this below)
This is not a complete list, but a basic list applicable to most Ukrainian families in the UK.
Full list here:https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/council-tax-disregarded
Council Tax - are there discounts?
Can I get a discount?
You can get a council tax discount, if:· you have a low income· you are a student or live with students· you live alone or are the only adult in your home· you receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit.· you or someone you live with has a disability and as a result must live in a large house· you have a diagnosed mental health problem or someone living with you has one
These are not all possible options, but the most popular ones that can be applied to Ukrainians
To find out more about who can get the discount and apply, use the links below:
England – https://www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-payWales- local government Wales https://gov.wales/pay-less-council-taxScotland - Scottish Government https://www.mygov.scot/council-tax/discounts-exemptions-and-reductions
Most Popular Opportunities to Reduce Council Tax
- if everyone living in the accommodation is "disregarded" - then you pay only 50% of the total tax
- if there is only 1 adult in the accommodation who "counts" - then you have a discount of 25% of the full tax (for example, a woman of 30 years and a child of 6 years).
- If you receive Universal Credit payments, you can often receive up to an 80% council tax rebate, but you should check the information on your council website and apply through the council.
- If you are retired, you can often receive up to 100% off Council Tax, but you should check the information on your Council's website and apply through the Council
These are not all discount opportunities, but the most popular ones.
IMPORTANT!: You should check your Council's website for any possible discounts, as these may vary by Council.
You will apply for a discount through your Council.
How to find out your Council Tax
You can find information on your Council's website. Below is an example from Milton Keynes Council.
Input information: Your family consists of you (adult) and your daughter. You have rented a home and receive Housing Benefit as part of Universal Credit
You are renting this property (link below)https://www.rightmove.co.uk/properties/85746450#/?channel=RES_LET
It belongs to Council Tax B.
On your Council's website, you can see how much tax is charged for your Council Tax Band.
This particular property is taxed to a Council Tax of £1551.71 per annum.
Usually, this amount is divided into 10 payments, which you must pay on a certain day of the month. You can pay both online and through the Post Office.
Follow the link below to find out how to pay your Council Taxhttps://www.gov.uk/pay-council-tax
If you submit all documents and since you are receiving Universal Credit, your Council Tax (in the mother and daughter example) will be reduced by 80% (This is possible at Milton Keynes Council, you should check with your Council as reduction percentages may vary).
20% off £1551.71 = £310.34
This amount will be split into 10 installments, so you will need to pay £31.03 monthly as Council Tax.
Examples of domestic rates calculations for Northern Ireland can be found here: https://www.which.co.uk/money/tax/council-tax/council-tax-bands-apxvz5j37h67
How to inform about a move?
If you have started renting your own property, you must tell the Council that you have started living in that property, as the tenant in the property is responsible for Council Tax.
You must refer to your Council's website for the registration procedure.
Don't worry if your invoice doesn't arrive right away as some Council delivers quickly while others may wait more time.
Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ)
- whether Ukrainians have to pay part of the Council Tax if they live in the same housing with a sponsor.
Answer : no, as Ukrainians are considered “disregarded” (not taken into account when calculating Council Tax), accordingly, they do not affect the Council Tax that your sponsors pay to the municipality in any way (it does not increase or decrease)
Accordingly, Ukrainians should not participate in paying Council Tax, and if the sponsor urges Ukrainians to take part in paying Council Tax - Ukrainians are not required to comply with this request.
Also, sponsors keep all discounts (for example, a 25% discount for 1 adult living in housing), despite the presence of Ukrainians in his housing
IMPORTANT!! We remind you that sponsors have every right to ask Ukrainians to pay utility bills in a reasonable amount.
IMPORTANT!! If you came to the UK under the Family Scheme or extended your stay under the Ukraine Extension Scheme, you are not "disregarded" when paying Council Tax.
Example 1. You arrived via Homes for Ukraine. Your sponsor gets a 25% discount because he lives on his own property. Despite the fact that you almost did not come, he will receive this discount.
Example 2. You came to your brother on the Family Scheme and stayed with him.Your brother gets a 25% discount as he lives in his own property. He WILL LOSE his discount because you are not being "disregarded" (you are being taken into account in council tax calculations)
Example 3. You extended your visa as a Ukraine Expansion Scheme and started living with your British boyfriend who previously received a 25% discount as he lived in his own property. He WILL LOSE his discount because you are not being "disregarded" (you are being taken into account in council tax calculations).
- do Ukrainians have to pay Council Tax if they live in a separate house, which is the second home of their sponsors?
A number of press articles say that if Ukrainian families live in someone's second home, the home owner will be entitled to a 50 percent discount on council tax.
The Council's current tax regulation is not intended to provide discounts to second home owners, but there is a side effect that could result in a 50 percent discount.
If a Ukrainian family has moved into a second home or extension to the main property, the new rules provide that all Ukrainians covered by the Homes for Ukraine scheme are not included (disregarded in the Council Tax calculation. This will mean that the property is occupied, but there are no adults subject to council tax.
In this case, only 50% of the standard council tax must be paid.
IMPORTANT!! In this option, it is the Ukrainians who are obliged to pay the municipal tax (50%), since the municipal tax is paid by the residents of the property, and not by its owners. In any case, the bill will go to the Ukrainian family. Who will pay for it - you should discuss with the sponsor whether you have the financial ability to cover this bill.
- Can Ukrainians apply for a Council Tax discount if they have already started renting their housing?
At the moment, discounts are only available on Council Tax if you live in your sponsors' Second Home - in which case you are "disregarded".
If you think you can get any discount on full bill, you can follow this link:https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-council-tax-discount
Official sources of information:
Additional information you can use: