Council Tax information for landlords

When your tenants are moving in or moving out

To help us ensure that you and your tenants are billed for the correct amounts of Council Tax, please let us know as soon as possible about the start or end of tenancies by completing the landlords and agents change of tenancy form.

Council Tax liability

Who is liable to pay Council Tax depends on who is highest on the hierarchy of legal interest. This normally means that where tenants are issued with a secure joint tenancy agreement for the entire property, they would be furthest up the hierarchy and therefore liable to pay the Council Tax.

Where tenants hold individual tenancy agreements or licences to occupy a property, the owner becomes liable for the Council Tax as the property is classed as a ‘house in multiple occupation' (HMO). This is because no single resident is responsible for the whole property as they usually hold an agreement to occupy one bedroom and have shared use of the kitchen, lounge and bathroom/toilets.

As the owner of an HMO property you can ask your tenants to make a contribution towards the Council Tax bill. You can do this by increasing the rent to take into account an amount to cover Council Tax. If your property is classed as an HMO your tenants cannot claim Council Tax Reduction to help pay the Council Tax. However they may be able to claim Housing Benefit to help them pay the rent.

If your property has been classed as an HMO and you wish to appeal against the decision, you can contact the Council Tax office to discuss the matter further.

Council Tax liability during tenancies

Your tenants will qualify for a 25% discount if they are the sole resident over the age of 18. However, they will need to contact us themselves in order to claim this.

If your property is wholly occupied by full-time students, they will be entitled to a full Council Tax exemption. To award this we will need their names, place(s) of study, and their student registration number(s). You can provide this information when using the landlords and agents change of tenancy form or alternatively ask your tenants to submit a student reduction application form.

If your tenants are on a low income and are finding it difficult to pay their rent and Council Tax, they may be able to claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction to help.  Tenants can check online to see if they’ll qualify and proceed to an online claim if they do, or alternatively contact the council's benefits service for more information.  You can find more information for landlords with tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit on our benefits pages.

As your tenants are liable for the Council Tax, should they fall into arrears, any debt will remain in their name and not stay with the property or be transferred to you. However, when they vacate the property it is important that we are told promptly and provided with a forwarding address where known. This is so that we can close their account and forward all communication to their new address and not to the property.

If a tenant is living with you as a lodger, you will continue to be liable for the Council Tax, as the lodger would be further down the hierarchy. Unless they are a full-time student or disregarded for another reason, you would usually be liable to pay the full charge.

Council Tax liability in between tenancies

When a property becomes vacant, in between tenancies, liability reverts back to the landlord and the full charge is due.