What is Council Tax?
Council Tax is a way of paying for our services, such as libraries and schools, emergency services such as police and the fire service, street lighting and collecting your rubbish.
Who must pay the Council Tax?
A person who owns and lives in a property or a tenant aged 18 or over, living in the property is usually responsible for paying the Council Tax.
What is Council Tax Support?
We can give people on low incomes help to pay their Council Tax. This is known as Council Tax Support. It is a local scheme operated by this Council. It will be different from other councils as they all have their own schemes.
How does the Runnymede Council Tax Support scheme work?
The scheme is detailed here.
Who can claim Council Tax Support?
Anybody who owns and lives in a property or a tenant aged 18 or over who is legally responsible for the Council Tax can claim Council Tax Support.
Who cannot claim Council Tax Support?
In certain circumstances, owners who do not live in the property must pay the Council Tax. They cannot claim Council Tax Support. The most common example of this is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)
An HMO is where:
- tenants rent rooms in the property and share facilities, for example a bathroom, or a kitchen, or both; and
- each tenant has a separate tenancy agreement.
In an HMO the landlord or the owner is responsible for paying the Council Tax. However, if a landlord has tenants in a property, he/she can charge the Council Tax as part of the rent.
How to claim Council Tax Support?
If you want to claim Council Tax Support, you can use the Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and Council Tax Support Claim Form . You can also get a copy from the Civic Centre
- complete the form in full
- sign it
- include evidence to support your claim
If you do not have all the evidence requested on the form, return the claim form anyway and then provide the missing evidence as soon as possible afterwards.
You should claim for Council Tax Support as soon as you think that you need help. Council Tax support will only start from the Monday following the day we receive your completed form.
We can backdate your claim if you have a good reason for not claiming earlier. This could be if:
- you were ill and no-one else could claim for you;
- you were in hospital;
- you were waiting for a decision on another benefit;
- you did not understand that you could claim – perhaps because of your age; inexperience, language problems, difficulty in understanding technical documents or some other reason;
- you could not manage your own affairs;
- or a close relative died
If you know your circumstances are going to change you can claim up to 13 weeks before.
Getting your payment
When you get Council Tax Support it will be shown as a reduction on your bill. This means that you won't actually get any money but your Council Tax payments will be less.
What happens if I disagree with the decision?
You can appeal against any decision we make. You will need to write to us. In your letter you should tell us the reasons why you want to appeal.