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Council Tax

Guidance for Landlords

Landlords are liable for council tax if:

  • They live in the property with the tenants
  • The property is regarded as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)
    (This means if the residents pay their rent to the landlord separately for their own room or part of the property and they share communal areas like the kitchen and bathroom. The tenants will usually have individual tenancy agreements.)
  • The property is unoccupied because it is nobody’s main home.

In these cases where you are liable to pay, you are not entitled to receive council tax benefit in respect of any residents on a low income. This does not affect any entitlement to housing benefit

How much will i have to pay if the property is empty?

If the property is furnished, you will pay the full council tax charge.

When a property first becomes unfurnished, there will be nothing to pay for the first month (a 100% discount will be applied) after this the full charge will be due.

Empty properties include properties which are left unoccupied and are either furnished or unfurnished.

  • Discounts – The person liable to pay the council tax will pay the full charge where a property is unoccupied and furnished. However, if the property is unoccupied and unfurnished then a 100% discount will be awarded for the period of 1 month.
  • Discount for Major Repair Works or Structural Alterations – Properties that require major repair works to render them habitable or are undergoing structural alteration may be eligible for a 100% discount for a maximum period of up to one year. The discount can only be considered if the property is unoccupied and unfurnished. Subject to the one year maximum the discount can continue once the works have been completed for up to 6 months provided the property remains empty.
  • Exemptions – Sometimes an exemption can apply to vacant/unoccupied properties. Exemptions can apply for an indefinite period until someone else moves in, or for a limited time.

If i rent my property to students will the property be exempt from council tax?

Students are not exempt from being liable for council tax, unless they occupy a property with non-students, so the usual rules of determining liability apply. For example, if they hold a joint tenancy agreement, then the bill will be in the students’ names.

However, students are ‘not counted’ (they are disregarded) in calculating the council tax bill so a discount or full exemption may be due, depending on how many non-students live there.

If you wish to claim a discount or exemption then you must tell the council the full names and moving in dates of all of the students. You must then ensure that they send the council their current student certificates to prove their status (issued by their college or university).

Keep the council fully informed when students move in and out because once they leave a property, it may no longer be possible to prove their student status.

Provided the same students hold the tenancy agreement and continue to study the same course, discounts and exemptions will continue when the students return to the property for the term-time after the holidays. If the students change, then you must inform the council straight away so they can review the bill. Councils normally write to all their student households each year to review who the residents are and their student status. Do not wait for this review to advise the council of changes. Remember the council can only award discounts and exemptions if they receive the appropriate student certificates and are kept informed of who has moved in and out.