Senior Advisor Rebekah Ollerenshaw explains what council tax is and how you can avoid it
Renting a house for the first time is exciting, but there can be lots of different bills to deal with. One bill you might not have to pay is your council tax bill.
Council tax is a fee charged by local councils to help fund their services. However, not everyone is obliged to pay it. If you are a full-time student, then you do not have to pay council tax. This includes periods when you are on interruption, providing you intend to return to the course.
But just because you’re exempt, doesn’t mean you don’t need to tell the council. If you live in one of the following postcodes: M1, M4, M8, M9, M11, M12, M13, M14, M15, M16, M18, M19, M20, M21, M22, M23 and M40, then search for council tax on this website and complete the online form for students.
Some students will need to collect a paper exemption certificate from the university. If you live in a postcode that is not listed, you are an international student with dependents living with you, or if you are a postgraduate research student awaiting your visa, then visit the Student Services Centre (number 57 on the campus map) for an exemption certificate.
Unfortunately, part-time students and non-students do have to pay council tax. However, if you live with full-time students and are the only person in the house that is liable to pay council tax, then you will receive a 25% discount. The full-time students you live with do not have to contribute towards this cost.
If you are a part-time student on a low income or if you are entitled to government benefits, then you might be eligible for council tax support to help you pay for it. Contact the Students’ Union Advice Service for more information on this and any other housing issues.