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Council tax information for students

If you live in halls of residence you don’t have to pay council tax, but the law is different if you move into a rented or owned property.

For the purpose of Council Tax exemptions and discounts a student is someone who is:

  • Undertaking a full time course of education provided by a recognized educational establishment where the course lasts for at least one academic or calendar year. The student must be required to study for an average of 21 hours per week for 24 weeks; or
  • A PHD student who is "writing up"; or
  • Under the age of 20 years and in further education. The course must last for at least 3 months, during which the student is required to study for more than 12 hours per week; or
  • A practicing foreign language assistant who is registered with the Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchange; or
  • A student nurse or student midwife; or
  • Certain apprentices and youth training trainees; or
  • A person who is not a British Citizen, is a spouse or dependent of a student and is prevented by the terms of their leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom from taking paid employment or claiming benefits.

School or college leavers under 20 years old who leave after 30 April continue to qualify as students until 1 November of the same year.

The information below will help you understand your responsibilities should you leave halls to live in a rented or owned property.


Properties occupied only by students are exempt from paying Council Tax providing that the property is the main residence of one or more people, each of whom is a student; or the property is occupied by one or more students as term-time accommodation.

Properties will be considered to be occupied during holiday periods as long as you have the right to occupy the property, and you have previously used or intend to use the property as term-time accommodation.

If you live in a property which is classed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), you are not liable to pay council tax. A HMO is a property where the residents pay rent separately for different parts of the property. The owner of the property is liable to pay the tax.


In some cases, the property may not be exempt from council tax, for example in homes where not all residents are students. However, a discount will be applied where there is only one occupier of a property who is not a student.

How do I claim an exemption or discount?

As soon as you occupy a property as a student, you should provide us with details of all occupants, and the date you moved in. If the property is rented we may ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement.

Supporting evidence to prove student status is required before a discount or exemption will be awarded. If a new occupant moves in and they are a student, proof of their student status must also be provided.

Leicester’s universities

Both Leicester University and De Montfort University provide lists of students living in the city to us.

However, these lists are not 100 per cent accurate, and are not updated if a student changes their address.  You should contact us if you move house during term-time.