Usually, landlords don’t have to worry about council tax. However, when it comes to HMO properties and vacant periods, things can start to get confusing.
It’s important to understand your landlord council tax responsibilities so as not to get caught out by any unexpected bills or legal issues. So, who pays council tax? What happens when your property is empty? And what about unpaid tenant debts?
From who is responsible to available discounts and exemptions, our council tax guide covers everything responsible landlords need to know.
All residential properties in England and Wales are liable for council tax. If you fail to pay on time, there could be serious financial and legal consequences.
How does it work? The council tax system works according to a hierarchy of liability. The first on the list to pay is any adult over the age of 18 who is an occupant of the property. The landlord or property owner comes much further down this list.
Properties are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and placed within bands A-H according to the location and type of housing. The banding is based on the amount the property could be sold for and the cost for each band varies by council.
This depends on the sort of tenancy agreement you have in place. Usually, if you rent the entire property to one or several joint tenants, it is their responsibility to pay. (This includes single occupants, families and shared tenancies) In this case, the bills will be sent directly from the local council to your tenants, leaving you out of the equation.
However, if you rent to several tenants with individual tenancy agreements, you will become responsible for paying council tax. Therefore, if you rent out an HMO property, you will be liable to pay.
Yes. During void periods, the landlord is responsible for paying council tax.
The size of the bill depends on your local council. You could be given a discount of up to 50% while the property remains unoccupied. However, this is becoming more unlikely as the number of unoccupied properties grow.
If your property is unfurnished, you may be exempt from council tax for up to 6 months.
Not usually. As long as the tenancy agreement stipulated that council tax payments were the responsibility of the tenants, then landlords should be safe if tenants leave with unpaid debts.
If your property is vacant for any time, as the landlord, you will be responsible for paying tax during this period. However, you should not be responsible for repaying leftover bills that should have been paid by tenants while they were living in the property.
Without proof of a signed tenancy agreement, it will be harder to convince the council of your exemption if your tenant moves out early without notifying you.
See our blog on who is responsible for unpaid utility bills for more answers to common questions regarding bills.
Some properties and tenants are either exempt from paying council tax or are eligible for a discounted rate.
If you’re a landlord of an HMO property, make sure you check your tenant’s status to find out if you are eligible for any discounts. For example, if there is a mix of full-time students and one adult, you may receive a 25% discount.
There are certain groups of people who are exempt or eligible for a discounted council tax bill;
There are also a number of properties that are exempt from paying council tax;
To ensure you stay on top of your council tax responsibilities and avoid any unexpected bills, follow these simple tips;
If you’re a busy landlord looking for help managing your portfolio, we could help. Our wide range of professional property services includes comprehensive inventory reports, vacant property inspections and right to rent checks.
Here’s what else we offer;
For all your property management needs, browse our full list of property services to find out how our friendly team could help streamline your business and protect your investment.
The number of older tenants in the private rental sector is growing. Factors such as a rising elderly population along with the cost and effort of property maintenance is making older people turn to rental properties in their later years. The benefits of renting to elderly tenants are plentiful. From longer tenancy agreements to reliability, [...]READ MORE
Winter brings with it potential hazards that could harm your rental property and cost you money if left untreated. High winds, excessive rain, snow and ice can lead to anything from frozen pipes to blocked guttering. That’s why it makes sense to get ahead and protect your rental property before the worst of the UK [...]READ MORE
Anyone who has worked within the lettings industry will understand the importance of a thorough inventory for rental properties. And when landlords skip this vital step, major issues can occur. If you’re left facing serious damage at the end of a tenancy without the proper reports, you may lose out on thousands of pounds. We [...]READ MORE
Thinking of investing in London rental property? There are plenty of benefits for landlords, including high demand from a wide range of tenant groups and convenient access to quality tradespeople and property services. Buy-to-let in London can offer great rewards, as long as you’re clever about where you invest. We explore why investing in London [...]READ MORE