Council Tax For Students

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Purpose of council tax.

Council tax is a payment collected by local authorities for services like police and fire service. The amount you pay is based on your property and number of people living there.

You will often find that full time students do not have to pay council tax. If you live in university managed accommodation as a full time student, they will normally take care of the council tax for you so you don’t have to do anything. If you are living in private accommodation, and you are studying full time, you will need to prove you are a full time student and therefore exempt from paying the council tax.

Defining what is a “full time student”.

For council tax purposes, you are considered full time if your course lasts for at least one academic year. It requires an attendance for at least 24 weeks per year and involves at least 21 hours of study, classes or work experience during the term time.

Students who are on study abroad programmes such as all visiting exchange students studying at Sussex for the academic year can request a council tax exemption letter. There are various ways you can do this but it is best to ask the university.

Council tax can be an absolute headache for students and the rules are complicated. Especially as everybody is living in different situations and in different properties. We have this small guide in respect of items you might want to consider and what you will need to do.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you deal with the situation. If you are a full time student you would have some good news as it is more than likely that you don’t have to pay for it.

Before you go off and start spending the money from your council tax fund, there are always exceptions to this. You might have to come up with money so even as a student you need to ensure exactly what it is and whether you have to pay for it.

WHAT IS COUNCIL TAX?

Council tax is a yearly charge paid by either 10 or 12 instalments throughout the year. Council tax charges are per household rather than per person. It’s calculated on the valuation of the property that you are living in. It is thus important that you understand what council tax band you are in.

The United Kingdom is divided into different value bands what the Government believe the value of that property should be. These are from A to H in England and Scotland and A to I in Wales. Your home council tax band will depend on your post code and how much the property is worth. It’s calculated on the valuation from 1991 for English properties. Although this may have been updated recently.

The council tax goes towards paying for local council facilities. Such as rubbish collection, street cleaning, local schools, road works etc.

Any household occupied by only by full time students will qualify for an exemption on council tax.

Exemption.

To qualify for an exemption as a full time student you must be on a course that lasts at least a year and requires over 21 weeks of study.

If you study for a qualification up to A Level and you are under 20, your course must be at least three months and involve at least 12 hours per week study. If you are in a shared house with full time students and non-students only the non-student tenants should need to pay.

It is therefore important that you understand that if there is a mixture of students and non-students you may be liable to some form of council tax. It is important that you speak to the local authority and understand what your liability is.

To qualify for council tax exemption you need to be studying full time. If you are a part time student then you will need to still pay this.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR COUNCIL TAX EXEMPTION?

Each council is different and they do things in a different way. Getting your exemption could take a few minutes, a few days or even a few weeks. It is something that you need to pursue. It is your responsibility not your letting agent, your landlord or even your mum and dad!

Some councils will be happy for you to ring up and give your name, student number and university course. They will then arrange the exemption electronically whilst you are on the line.

Other councils will ask for what’s known as a certificate of student status to prove that you are in full time education. You can pick one of these up from your University. Then post it to your council or give it to them online.

Brighton and Hove Council have a specific website that you have to use. You have to make an application for a student discount.

Discount.

Before claiming a discount all student households need to register for council tax. Then provide their student registration details.

If everyone living in your property is a full time student none of you have to pay council tax during the course dates. You will still have to pay council tax outside of these dates. Your council will want to check your place of study. Every council is different but Brighton and Hove council this is their requirement.

If one person in the property is not a full time student, they will have to pay all the council tax for the property. They can still get a 25% student discount if everyone else is a full time student. If two or more people in the property are not full time students, they are responsible for paying the council tax.

In Brighton to get a discount you have to show that you follow the academic year. In some cases at least 24 weeks and have at least 21 hours study. If you are under 20 years old and doing A levels it must last at least 12 weeks and include 12 hours work.

If you are struggling to get through to Brighton Council there is a Government website that you can go onto with their contact details. Please see link below.

https://www.gov.uk/pay-council-tax

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU NEED TO TAKE TIME OFF FROM YOUR COURSE?

You will find that sometimes as a full time student you may need to take some time out from your course. For example from an illness or a family commitment. If you suspend your course but remain registered because you intend to go back. Then you would still be regarded as a student for the purpose of council tax.

TIME OFF BETWEEN COURSES

If you have finished one course and you are waiting to start another, you may have to pay council tax.

ISSUES FOR POST GRADUATE STUDENTS

Some post graduate students have difficulty proving they are a student for council tax purposes. This is because some study tuition or work may not take place on the University or College campus. Or that they are in thesis “writing up” stage of their course.

You only need to be undertaking the course for the necessary period of time. You do not need to be physically attending University or college for that time. If this affects you, you may be able to challenge the local authority’s decision. You should get some advice from the student Union or the University advice centre.

The most important thing to understand is that it is your responsibility to ensure that the council tax is paid. Make sure that you know the situation and that you have dealt with it.

For more information on council tax exemptions click here.

What other bills would be required to pay for our accommodation?

You can often find that a lot of accommodation now includes what is known as all inclusive bills. You will need to be careful as you need to understand the definition of this. Is there a limit to how much you can use the electricity or gas during the year and if so what are these. There are various standards outlined by consumer groups as well as Offgem who will be able to inform you of this.

What are the other types of bills we will be liable for?

You will be liable for;

Electricity.

Obviously, it seems a simple answer but you have to pay for your electricity in your property and it is so important that you make sure before the day you move in that you have a provider that can help you to do this. There are a substantial amount of electricity providers through the whole country and you should make some enquiries as to what is the cheapest. It is important you understand what your liabilities are. There are various ways to save electricity during the day and we have an article on this here. Such as not leaving computers on etc but you should always take monthly meter readings and give these to your provider so you can get accurate bills.

Gas.

Not all properties have gas within them. You may find that your heating is provided with gas but now a days it can also be done by way of electricity. It is important you understand that when it comes to gas sometimes rather than having a burst of gas for a set period of time at a very hot temperature it can often be cheaper to have it on low during the winter months consistently. We understand it is an expensive payment for students so again make sure you do monthly meter readings.

Water.

You will need to pay for your water and sewage. These used to be via various different regional companies but you can now pick whoever you wish to deal with your water and waste. There are two ways this can be done. Either by way of a meter where you give a meter reading on a monthly basis and they let you know what you water usage is. Alternatively they do it on a rateable value basis.

TV License.

If you are watching BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four you will need a tv license. People often forget about this and it can cause a hefty fine if you don’t make payment.

Contents insurance.

You may not have thought that you need contents insurance but what if your house gets burgled. Or if you loose your computer and everything on it would you be able to purchase a new one almost immediately? It is something you seriously need to consider.

The most important thing is to understand you are responsible for your bills in respect of the property and there is no-one else that will deal with it for you. You need to take responsibility immediately for the utilities that are being provided.

Don’t know where to find our utilities?

Harringtons do not hold details of your properties current utility provider. However you can easily find these details online.

Find your electricity provider by using the below link, you will need your property address including the postcode which can be found in your tenancy agreement.

Find your gas provider by using the below link. You will need the postcode for the property which can be found in your tenancy agreement.

https://www.findmysupplier.energy/

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google-review Review
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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