Council Tax and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
What is a house in multiple occupation (HMO)?
There are different HMO definitions that apply for different purposes, such as for Environmental Health or Housing, as well as for Council Tax.
For Council Tax purposes, a house in multiple occupation (HMO) is defined as:
- a property that has been built or adapted for tenants or licensees to live in, who are not living as a single household, or
- a property lived in by a person or persons, each of whom has a tenancy or license to live in only part of the property or who pays rent or a fee for only part of the property
How does the council decide if a property is a HMO for Council Tax purposes?
As a general rule, a property will be classed as a HMO with the owner liable to pay the Council Tax, where each tenant has his or her own tenancy agreement and only pays rent for part of the property.
The tenants will be liable where there is only one tenancy agreement, with all the tenants names included for the whole of the property, and all of the rent due.
For most properties that fall under the HMO definition it is the rental arrangements that determines whether the landlord or tenants are liable for the Council Tax.
Sometimes this decision can only be made once all relevant information is obtained from owners, agents or tenants, and there may be occasions when you are asked to provide this information.
You can help us make a quick decision by supplying this information as soon as possible after it has been requested.
You can find more information about HMO licensing in the housing section of our website.
- Am I responsible for Council Tax? (queries about liability and main residence)
- Council Tax information for landlords
- Information for landlords with tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit
- Council Tax bands and charges in Brighton & Hove
- Popular questions about Council Tax
- Council Tax information
- Contact the Council Tax team
- Council Tax main web page