Council Tax

What is it?

This is a charge that all households pay in the UK which goes towards the services that are provided in the local area. It is collected by the local council and you can read more about it here.

Full time students do not have to pay this as they receive an exemption but this only counts whilst they are enrolled as a full time student. RHSU is currently campaigning heavily on this, hoping to change Surrey Council’s stance and overturn the current position that sees students leaving in their final year receiving a charge. As it currently stands however, you will most likely be liable for some council tax after your course finishes in June.


As previously stated, the exemption counts towards all full-time students registered at Royal Holloway - this is based on a course lasting at least one year and involving 21 hours of study (classroom or independent) per week. The exemption is normally sorted out by the landlord who will submit evidence that they have students in the property. It is likely you will be asked to fill out an exemption form when you sign the house contract. If you need to give evidence for this all you need to do is go and see the Students Services Centre in the EWD building and they can provide you with the appropriate documentation.

At the end of your course

You may be liable to pay council tax at the end of your final year, especially if your tenancy agreement ends later than June. RHSU has been lobbying the local council to change the ruling around this but the charge is still currently active. You will normally receive a letter stating how much you will need to pay as a house. The tax should be divided between all final year students living at the property. If you have any problems paying there are ways you can get support, so it is best to book an appointment to see us and find out your options. We advise that you do not just ignore the bill and leave the property as you will be liable and the council will pursue you in order to receive the money.