Students and council tax

Full-time students don’t usually have to pay council tax. Find out if you’re eligible for an exemption.

Council tax is paid to your local council so that they can spend the money on providing local services like transport, police, fire, libraries, leisure and recreation, and rubbish collection. It’s a tax on domestic property and how much you pay is determined by how much your property is worth.

Council tax eligibility

For council tax purposes, a full-time student is enrolled on a course that:

  • lasts at least 1 year;
  • involves at least 21 hours of study per week.

If you don’t meet the definitions of full-time student, you can’t claim exemption from council tax, even if your course is defined as full-time by your university or college. 

You will need a Statement of Student Status to prove you are eligible. You can print out a copy of your own statement in Portico

You are eligible for council tax exemption: 

  • if you are a full-time student and live in a house where everyone is a student (halls of residences are automatically exempt);
  • if you are a full-time student and have interrupted your studies.

If you are a full-time student and live in a house with others who are not students, you may be eligible for a discount, but council tax will still be payable on the property. 

You are not eligible for council tax exemption:

  • if you are withdrawing from your course, as you will no longer be considered a student; 
  • if you have finished studying and have passed your programme end date - once you have finished studying, you are no longer classed as a full-time student, even if you have not yet received your results or been to your graduation ceremony.


  • If you move into your privately rented property before the start date of your programme, you may be liable for the period from when you move in to the first day of your programme.

For more information on council tax in your London borough, please visit the London Councils’ Directory and select your borough.    

    Further advice is available from the Students' Union UCL Advice Service.

    How to apply

    Council tax exemption certificates

    In some situations, you may need to provide the Council or your landlord with proof of your student status to apply for exemption. They might ask for what's called a 'Certificate of student status' or 'Council tax exemption certificate' (often shortened to 'student certificate') in order to prove that you're in full-time education. You can use your Statement of Student Status to prove you are eligible. You can download or print out a copy of your Statement of Student Status from your Portico account

    You should apply for exemption to your local council. If you can’t apply online, you will need to contact your council to find out how to apply. 

    Browse the GOV.UK directory of local councils to find yours.

    Find out  more about how you can apply online for council tax exemption.

    More information

    Further guidance is available from the Citizens Advice Bureau.