Insight into the single person discount for single lets
Council tax is a fee on domestic property set by individual local councils and paid by the occupiers of residential property in England, Wales and Scotland. If you are renting out a sole occupancy, read on to learn how your tenant may qualify for a discount on the council tax they pay.
What is a sole occupancy?
Also known as a “single let”, a sole occupancy is a property that is rented for the use of one household. A household can be : (i) a single person; (ii) a cohabiting couple; or (iii) a family of related people. The single household has the exclusive right to possess the entire property, and does not share any facilities such as toilets or showers with other households.
Who is the council tax discount for?
For council tax purposes, the “single-person discount” would apply to a household made up of either:
- one single person; or
- one adult sharing the home with a “disregarded person”.
A “disregarded person” is someone who is exempt from paying council tax because of their status, including the following:
- full-time students
- student nurses
- people aged 17 or under
- people under 25 years old on approved training schemes
- apprentices studying for a recognised qualification
- members of a religious community with no income e.g. monks and nuns
- members of visiting armed forces and their dependants
- live-in carers who are not the main tenant’s spouse or civil partner
- people with severe mental disabilities
- people temporarily living in the rental property
- people aged 18 who someone else is entitled to child benefit on behalf of
Please note that a tenant’s income or savings will not affect their eligibility for the single person discount.
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How much is the single occupancy council tax discount?
The value of an individual property’s council tax rate is calculated based on the nature of the property itself and that of any household living in it. A council tax bill tends to assume that 2 adults live in a property as their only or main home. This means that if your tenants qualify for the “single-person discount” by meeting the criteria mentioned above, they will be able to get their council tax bill reduced by 25%.
How do you apply for single occupancy council tax?
If you believe the occupants of your rental property qualify for this discount, either you or them will need to write to the local council. The council will then ask for supporting evidence and take up to 2 months to make a decision. If the application is approved, your tenants will have their next council tax bill reduced.
If the council decides not to grant a discount, you can appeal the verdict at a valuation tribunal.
You can find your local council here.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.