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Local Government Act 2003

Section 74: Exception of students from joint and several liability

135.Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (‘LGFA 1992’) provides, broadly speaking, that where two or more people have an equal legal interest in a dwelling, they shall be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax.

136.Section 9 provides that spouses and a man and a woman who live together as husband and wife are jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax, even if they do not have an equal legal interest in the dwelling.

137.At present, students, as defined in paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the LGFA 1992, are disregarded for the purpose of a discount. Therefore, the liability for council tax for a dwelling whose residents were a student and someone who is not a student (and is not otherwise disregarded) would be calculated as if the dwelling had only one resident, and would therefore be subject to a 25% discount under section 11 of the LGFA 1992. Other categories of people, including the severely mentally impaired, are also disregarded for the purposes of council tax under Schedule 1 to the LGFA 1992.

138.Exempt Class N, contained in the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 (S.I. 1992/558), made under section 4 of the LGFA 1992, provides an exemption from council tax in certain circumstances for dwellings occupied solely by students or occupied as term-time accommodation by students.

139.However, where a dwelling is occupied by a student and non-student, although disregarded for the purpose of a discount, the student can still be held jointly and severally liable for council tax, under either section 6(3), or, where the student and non-student are spouses as defined in section 9 under section 9(1).

140.Section 74 amends sections 6(4) and 9(2) of the LGFA 1992 to remove students from joint and several liability where they are a spouse or living with someone as husband and wife, or where they have an equal legal interest in the dwelling, for financial years beginning on or after 1 April 2004.

141.Exemptions already apply where students and people with a severe mental impairment live together and there are no other residents.

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