Council Tax occupied property exemptions

Depending on the circumstances of the household exemptions are for occupied properties. An exemption means that there is no Council Tax to pay.

Details of the exemptions available for occupied properties, and how to apply, can be found below. If all members of your household fall within one of the categories below an exemption might apply. This includes people who live alone, and who might already be receiving a Single Occupier discount on their Council Tax.

Full time students

This exemption applies when a property is occupied only by persons who are in one of the following 3 categories:

1. Full time students

A person will be disregarded for Council Tax purposes as a full time student if they are studying on a full time course of education at a university or college which:  

  • Lasts for at least one academic or calendar year  
  • Requires the student to undertake the course for at least 24 weeks per year.
  • Involves an average of at least 21 hours per week, study, tuition or work experience.

Evening classes, correspondence courses and job related training taken as a consequence of employment are not included. Except courses for the initial training of teachers, a course will not be treated as full time if the aggregate of work experience exceeds the period of study or tuition, for the course as a whole

2. Persons under 20 and still at school or who have just left school,

A person is disregarded for Council Tax purposes, as a person under 20 and still at school, if they are:

  • under 20, and

on a Full time course which:

  • Lasts for at least 3 calendar months and is further rather than higher education, and
  • Requires an average of 12 hours per week study or tuition.

If a person under 20 years leaves school or finishes a course of further education after 30th April in any year, the person will continue to be disregarded until 1st November of that year. (evening classes, correspondence courses and job related training do not count).

3. a non-British husband, wife, civil partner or dependant of a student

Any non-British Citizen who is the spouse, dependant or civil partner of a full time student will also be disregarded for Council Tax purposes provided they cannot work or claim benefits whilst in the UK.


If all the occupants of a property fall into any of the above categories then Council Tax will not be charged during any period where student status applies.

The exemption would end if at any time any student ceases to be a student or a non-student moves into the property. Exemptions can be assessed from the information provided on the full time student discount application form.

If any of the above circumstances apply, please apply online using this form.

People who are severely mentally impaired

This exemption applies when a property is occupied only by persons suffering from a severe mental impairment and would be liable to pay Council tax at that address.

A person will be disregarded for Council Tax purposes as a person with a Severe Mental Impairment if:

  • they have an impairment of intelligence, understanding, social functioning or interaction, which appears to be permanent, and
  • this can be verified by the person’s doctor, who must sign and complete a Doctor’s Certificate in support of their application, and
  • is entitled to one of the following qualifying benefits listed below.
    • or would be entitled to one of the above benefits but for reaching pensionable age.
    • or has a partner in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance which has been increased on the grounds of their incapacity for work.

List of qualifying benefits

  • Attendance Allowance,
  • The care component of a Disability Living Allowance (middle or higher rate),
  • Incapacity Benefit,
  • Severe Disablement Allowance,
  • An increase in the rate of Disablement Pension (where constant attendance is needed),
  • Disability Working Allowance,
  • Unemployability Supplement,
  • Constant Attendance Allowance,
  • Unemployability Allowance,
  • Employment Support Allowance,
  • Income Support where the applicable amount includes a disability premium.
  • Either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP),
  • Armed Forces Independence Payments,
  • Universal Credit where it includes an element for limited capability to work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA).

If all the occupiers of a property are suffering from some form of impairment and meet the qualifying criteria above.

This exemption may also apply if other occupants are disregarded as a full time student. 

This exemption does not apply to Residential Care Homes 

Before applying don’t forget…

As part of your application you will be required to supply a completed Doctor's certificate and proof of entitlement to a qualifying benefit.

Before submitting an online form, we recommend printing a doctors certificate (found below), and taking to be completed by your GP.

Your GP should NOT charge you for the completion of this certificate.

You will then be able to attach a photo or scanned image of the completed certificate, and any qualifying benefit evidence with your online application. 

If you need help applying...

A family member, friend, carer or other representative can help the taxpayer complete their application form. Further assistance is available at your local library and at the Council's Civic Office, where a member of staff will be happy to help you submit an application. If you are unable to to complete a form online, a paper version is available on request.

Application Form Severe Mental Impairment - Doctors Certificate
Download (94KB)

People under the age of 18

This exemption applies to dwellings occupied only by persons under the age of 18 years.

In such circumstances the owner would be liable (even if they are not resident), but would not have any Council Tax to pay.

Serving armed forces personnel living in a property owned by the Ministry of Defence

This exemption applies to domestic properties owned by the Secretary of State, which are kept to provide living accommodation for UK armed forces. This applies whether the property is occupied or not.

If you think this exemption may apply, please submit a general enquiry form.

Visiting forces accommodation

This applies to both members of the visiting armed forces and their dependents.

A person is disregarded for Council Tax if they have a relevant association with a visiting armed force. A person with a relevant association is one who is:

  1. a member of that force, or a civilian component of that force,
  2. a dependent of a member, provided that the dependent is not a British citizen, or is not normally resident in the UK.

If any of the persons liable to pay Council Tax qualifies as one of the above, the property will be exempt from Council Tax.

If you think this exemption may apply, please submit a general enquiry form.

Foreign diplomats and certain members of their household

An exemption may apply to properties that are the main residence of persons with diplomatic privileges and immunities.

If you think this exemption may apply, please submit a general enquiry form.

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Last updated: 20 June 2023 13:20:58

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