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    I am currently doing some training notes for benefit staff on Council Tax liability and am using the DWP modular training plan notes on Council Tax.

    I read that “Prior to 1st April 2004 all joint tenants are equally liable unless the property is exempt from the charge because all the liable people are full time students. From 1st April 2004 full time students are no longer liable, therefore, only the non student joint tenants would be jointly liable for the charge”. I take this to mean that if there were 4 joint tenants in a property, 3 students and 1 non student, then the non student would be the only liable person with a 25% single person discount. However, having spoken to collegues in Council Tax, they are not aware of this. Can someone confirm what SI introduced this.

    Any help greatly appreciated.


    It is Section 74 of the Local Government Act 2003, which reads:

    Exception of students from joint and several liability

    (1) In section 6(4) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (exception of severely mentally impaired from liability as co-resident or owner), for the words from “paragraph” to “impaired)” there is substituted “paragraph 2 (severely mentally impaired) or 4 (students etc.) of Schedule 1 to this Act”.

    (2) In section 9(2) of that Act (corresponding exception from liability as spouse), for the words from “paragraph” to the end there is substituted “paragraph 2 (the severely mentally impaired) or 4 (students etc.) of Schedule 1 to this Act”.

    (3) This section has effect in relation to financial years beginning on or after 1 April 2004.

    In other words, students are now in the same position as people who are severely mentally impaired. So, as from 1 April this year, a student is no longer jointly and severally liable with a non-student with whom they have an equal interest in the dwelling, or the other person where they are a member of a couple (and that other person is not a student).

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