Council tax for landlords

Landlords council tax responsibility

Landlords responsibility to pay council tax

A landlord is responsible for council tax when the property is rented out to several people and they each have an individual tenancy agreement to occupy only part of the building.

A landlord will be liable for council tax for any period the property is unoccupied and a tenancy agreement is not in place.

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 states that the owner of a property is liable for council tax on the final day of tenancy where the tenant moves out on or before that date, the extract is below which states at 2(2):

“Liability to pay council tax shall be determined on a daily basis. It shall be assumed that any state of affairs subsisting at the end of the day had subsisted throughout the day”

In effect this means that the person(s) controlling the premises at midnight is responsible for that day's council tax, meaning the landlord is liable for the final day of tenancy where the tenant has moved out. As this is defined in legislation, liability cannot be appealed.

Tenants responsibility to pay council tax

Tenants are responsible for council tax from the first date of the tenancy when the whole of the property is rented to one person or family, or to joint tenants.

Tenants will be held liable for council tax for the full period of their tenancy agreement, even if they have not yet occupied or have vacated the property.

Owners responsibility to pay council tax

There will be properties where the owner, rather than the residents, is responsible for payment. These are:

  • houses in multiple occupation (where residents do not form a single household and pay their rent separately for different parts of the property)
  • residential care or nursing homes, and some types of hostels which provide care
  • religious communities
  • properties which are occasionally occupied by the owner and whose domestic staff are also resident
  • properties occupied by ministers of religion, as a residence from which the duties of office are performed
  • properties provided to certain asylum seekers