What happens if you’re a student and you don’t pay council tax?

Moving into your first student home comes with a whole set of responsibilities unlike any you’ve ever had before, from doing your own food shopping to paying bills. A lot of the time, there isn’t a lot to prepare you for the reality of balancing these additional burdens.

Sometimes, after you’ve moved into your first student home, a particular—and pretty scary—letter shows up on your doorstep after a few weeks. Allow us to introduce you to the council tax bill. It’s usually enough to make your eyes pop out of your head.

At this point, you might start freaking out, asking yourself—and the internet—all kinds of questions: Do I really need to pay this amount? How do I get out of it? These questions are probably how you ended up on this page, right?

Thankfully, if you’re a full-time student, you will likely not have to cough up the full amount on your council tax bill. Allow acasa to explain why.

Do students pay council tax?

The good news is that if you’re living a student house—that being one where every resident is in full-time education—the household will be exempt from paying council tax. This includes undergraduate and postgraduate students and applies to all residences: both student halls and off-campus accommodation such as shared houses.

Of course this gets a bit more complicated if you are living with people who aren’t students or who study part-time, for instance. Part-time students can apply for a reduction in their council tax bill, which only they will be responsible for paying.

However, the bill isn’t judged individually but by household, meaning that if there are three full-time students and one person in employment the individual in employment will be responsible for one hefty council tax bill for the whole house, which can be pretty uncomfortable.

How do I know if I’m exempt?

Getting the letter in the postbox can cause you to go into a blind panic, thinking that you’ve missed your opportunity to be granted an exemption and you’re now liable for paying this substantial amount. However, generally you can provide evidence that you’re all in full-time education to the council tax office and it will all go away. You’ll even get a new letter with a glorious £0 due at the end of it.

You usually won’t need to provide evidence in your first year if you’re living in student halls, as the council automatically classifies these as exempt. However, remember that you’ll need to re-submit evidence at the start of every academic year that you’re living off-campus!

Use acasa

acasa is designed for anyone sharing a house, from students to young professionals to couples. With acasa, you can avoid unnecessary conflict around splitting utility bills with our direct billing and balance tracking systems.

Get a free quote for your property and enjoy a more stress-free approach to managing your shared house.

Get a free quote