Council Tax information for landlords


Tenancy changes

Landlords and managing agents are requested to tell us about tenancy changes within 21 days. This enables us to provide an efficient service, send correct bills and award discount and exemptions promptly. We require full names of your tenants. 

We have a legal right to request information that we need under Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, regulation 3 and under the Data Protection Act 1998 sections 29(1)(c) and 29(3)(a). We can impose a financial penalty if you refuse to give us information or if you give us information that you know to be false.

It is imperative that the Council Tax is registered in the name of the correct person in a timely matter, and as the landlord or agent of a property it is important that you pass this information on to us.

Responsibility for paying Council Tax

If you are a landlord renting out a property, the responsibility for paying Council Tax depends on what sort of letting arrangement you have.

When is the tenant responsible?

The tenant(s) are responsible for the Council Tax when you rent the whole of the property under a single tenancy agreement to one person or family, or to joint tenants. In these circumstances we send the bill to your tenant(s). 

Council Tax that is included within the tenants rent

If your tenant has a tenancy agreement that states their Council Tax payments are included in their rent we will still make the tenant liable for Council Tax as they are the occupier of the property. You are able to make payments against their Council Tax account with their prior permission, but the liability will always be in the name of the tenants.

When is the landlord responsible?

As a landlord, there are two circumstances when you are responsible for Council Tax:

  1. When the property is empty
  2. If the property is a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

If you have received a bill because we believe the property is empty and you have tenants, you must tell us as soon as the change occurs.

It is important that a landlord keeps us up to date with their contact details and home address. Should we issue correspondence or bills to an old address, recovery action may take place including adding recovery costs.

Empty properties

As a landlord you can become liable for Council Tax if your rental property is unoccupied. That means it is no one’s main residence and there is no material interest in the property other than your own.

From 1 April 2017, there is no discount for unoccupied and substantially unfurnished homes or properties undergoing major repair or structural alteration.

There is also no discount for second homes and unoccupied furnished properties that are not used as a sole or main residence.

From 1 April 2020, unoccupied and unfurnished properties will be subject to a premium.

A 100% premium for properties that have been empty for two years or more, but less than five years, this is in addition to the 100% annual charge.

A 200% premium will apply once a property has been empty for five years or more, but less than ten years, this is in addition to the current 100% annual charge.

A 300% premium will apply once a property has been empty for ten years or more, this is in addition to the current 100% annual charge. We regularly undertake a review a of empty properties to ensure that our records are up to date.  If you receive one of these reviews you must reply in the time given.

Liability between tenanted lets

As a landlord you are responsible for the Council Tax liability in between tenanted lets. If you have already informed us of a change of tenant, you are required to keep paying your Council Tax until you receive an amended bill. You will be refunded any monies overpaid.

Council Tax is charged on a daily basis. The Council Tax legislation states that the person who is liable for the charge at the end of each day, will be liable for the whole of that day.

A tenant is therefore not liable to pay the Council Tax on the tenancy end date – as the Landlord or Owner will be liable at the end of that day.

The Landlord or Owner will usually therefore be liable for that date, unless a new tenant or resident moves in on the same day.

Section 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 states:

  1. Liability to pay Council Tax shall be determined on a daily basis
  2. For the purposes of determining for any day
  3. Whether any property is a chargeable dwelling
  4. Which valuation band is shown in the billing authority’s valuation list as applicable to any chargeable dwelling
  5. The person liable to pay Council Tax in respect of any such dwelling
  6. Whether any amount of Council Tax is subject to a discount and (if so) the amount of the discount, it shall be assumed that any state of affairs subsisting at the end of the day had subsisted throughout the day

Should you dispute the one day charge you must provide us with both tenancy agreements confirming that the liability started and ended at midnight.

House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)

For Council Tax, a HMO is a property which is occupied by persons who do not have a right to occupy the entire property. This usually means that the property is let under multiple tenancies or licenses. This is a different definition than that used for HMO licensing under the Housing Act.

If your property is a HMO, you don’t need to inform us when tenants move in and out of the property. You only need to tell us about a change if the whole property becomes unoccupied or if you rent out the whole property under one agreement to tenants.

Last updated on 06/12/2023