Council Tax: Know Your Rights & Responsibilities

Have you just received a council tax bill from Runnymede Borough Council?

Please don't ignore it, read on to make sure you know what you need to do next.

What is council tax?

Council tax is collected by your local council to pay for services in your community, such as bin collection and social care. You can read more about it here.

Aren't students exempt from paying it?

Yes, full-time students are exempt when it comes to council tax but you do have to prove your student status. If you haven’t already done this, email your certificate to Runnymede Borough Council now, letting them know when your tenancy ends to avoid problems.

The problem lies in the fact that your full-time student status ends on the last day of your final academic year, which is 12 June for final year undergraduates this year. At this point, Runnymede Borough Council can start charging final year students for council tax.

We think this is unfair and our previous extensive lobbying attempts included delivering over 100 letters from students directly to the council, and writing a letter in partnership with the University to try and resolve the situation. Frustratingly, while numerous other councils around the country use their discretion to not bill students in the last couple of months of their student tenancies, Runnymede Borough Council refused to budge on their position.

This is why some of you have already received your bills and will have to pay council tax from 12 June until the end of your tenancy.

What support is available?

After years of fighting for students' rights on the issue of council tax, our Advice Centre have built up an extensive knowledge and have put together a FAQs document to help you understand this new phase of financial adulting

Read the FAQs

However, we know that sometimes, you just want to speak to a human, so we are happy to make individual or group Zoom appointments for you (or phone appointments if you prefer) so you can fire away with your questions. Just email us with a brief summary of your situation and a list of questions, asking for an appointment. 

Our Advice Centre can also provide a free bill-checking service:

  • Email us with a picture of your bill
  • Include a list of all housemates’ full names and year of study
  • Let us know when your tenancy ends

Please see our Cleaning Top Tips and Private Housing Leaving Guide for the latest information about your end of tenancy rights and obligations.

You can also check out our Housing FAQs for other important information during the Covid-19 pandemic, while the latest advice and information can be found on our Coronavirus Hub.