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Main Residence Questions

Is my main residence the place that I spend most time/nights?

Not necessarily, there has been several cases heard in the High Court in relation to main residences for Council Tax or Community Charge purposes.

City of Bradford Metropolitan Council v Neil Anderton (1991), the Courts ruled that a merchant seaman, away at sea most of the year, was resident at his home in Bradford, even though he spent only a small amount of his time at that address.

Ward v Kingston upon Hull City Council (1993), it was decided that a man working most of the year in Saudi Arabia still had his main residence in Hull where he had a greater security of tenure.

Williams v Horsham District Council (2003), it is clear from the Williams case, that a main residence should be the dwelling that a reasonable onlooker with knowledge of the material facts, would regard as that person's home at the material time.

What this means to us is that we will look closely at the nature of your residence at each of the properties. If you are away from the country on business a lot of the time, but retain a home in Fareham, we are likely to regard your Fareham home as your main residence.

What if I am in the Armed Services and am obliged to live in service accommodation?

In the case of Doncaster Borough Council v Stark and Stark (1997), a serving member of the RAF was adjudged to have his main residence at the family home in Doncaster, and not at the quarters where he was staying while on service.

In this, as in all of the above cases, the decisions have been based around the fact that the second homes were only being used because of the location of the employment of the Council Tax payers.

We will usually decide that your main home is where you have a greater security of tenure; where your family normally stays; or where you would live if you were no longer employed. Sometimes there are conflicts between these. If there are, we will try to find the fairest and most sensible solution to any disputes.

For further information please contact the Council Tax office on Tel: 01329 824651, or e-mail

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