Council Tax when moving house – what you need to do

There's a lot to sort when moving house, make sure council tax is added to your admin list
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  • Moving house is an exciting yet stressful time, with lots of admin to tackle. Not only do you have the mortgage, solicitors and utilities to think about – you need to ensure your council tax is in order. So what is the process of dealing with council tax when moving house? We ask a council representative to help outline the official process of what to do with regards to council tax when moving house.

    Failure to deal with council tax bills when you move house could result in you paying unnecessary costs on your old property, or not paying the correct bills for your new home. Get council tax moving out admin sorted with ease.

    What do I do about council tax when moving house?

    Council tax is a homeowners responsibility to sort, to ensure you are paying the right band of tax for your new home. ‘Most Councils will have an online form for you to complete when you are about to move home,’ advises Chris Henry, Head of Council Tax & Benefits at Havering Council.

    Be ready with the following information:

    • ‘The completion date if you are buying a property or the tenancy start date if you are renting’. This will ensure you are not paying tax on a property you no longer live in, but ensures your new address is registered.
    • ‘The first and surname of the new owner/s, landlord or tenant/s moving into your property and their current address.’ Giving the council the correct names of the persons living at the property will ensure the correct fees are charged to the correct people.
    • ‘The address and postcode of the property you are moving into.’
    • ‘The first and surname of the new owner/s, landlord or tenant/s moving out of the property you are moving into.’

    Brcik terraced town house exteriors

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Ryan Wicks

    Do I need to notify council tax when I move?

    Whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant in a property, it is your responsibility to let the council know if you move home. If you neglect to notify the council that you are no longer living at an address, they remain unaware that you are no longer responsible for the bills at the property and you can be liable for any further bills.

    ‘The law says you must tell the council tax department about moving into or out of a property. This is so you can be correctly charged Council Tax.’ states Chris Henry, Head of Council Tax & Benefits.

    Identify the borough your new home falls under to get the right council to start paying bills on your new property. If you are not moving far, the process will be straightforward because your local council will remain the same – but you will still need to notify them of your move, regardless of the distance.

    When should I notify the council of my new house?

    ‘You can tell the council as soon as you have completed the sale of your new home or you have signed the tenancy agreement.’ The council will need the date that your tenancy ended or you sold your property, the date you moved out of your old property and the name of the landlord or new owner.
    In addition, they will ask for the address of your new property and the name of anyone over 18 who is moving in with you.

    How can I avoid paying council tax on an empty property?

    cottage house exterior brick wall in front garden

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes

    ‘Councils charge an empty property tax which they are allowed to do in law to encourage owners not to leave their properties empty for too long as there is a housing shortage’ explains Chris. ‘Boroughs can charge up to 200% of the council tax if a home is left empty and unfurnished for two years or more.’

    ‘Check the Council’s website to find out how much they charge. However, if the property is structurally unsafe or not air/water tight, you can make a request to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to have the property taken out of the Council Tax ratings list which means there is no council tax to pay. The VOA will make this decision. You can find further details Council Tax: domestic properties which are in disrepair or are derelict at GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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