Information for owners

Landlords and managing agents need to tell us about tenancy changes so we can send accurate Council Tax bills quickly.

As a landlord, there are two circumstances when you can be charged for Council Tax:

  1. when the property is empty
  2. if the property is a 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.

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 to one person or family, or to joint tenants. In these circumstances, we send the bill to your tenant(s).  

When is the landlord responsible?

As a landlord, you can be liable for Council Tax on your rental property either because it is unoccupied or it falls under a special set of classes described by the Council Tax liability for owner regulations.

In most cases, a landlord will be affected by these regulations when a dwelling is designated as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). For Council Tax, an 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 and further information regarding that can be found on our HMO webpage.

If your property is an 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 rent out the whole property under one agreement to tenant/s using these forms:

My property is empty so why do I have to pay Council Tax?

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.

A material interest is a freehold interest or a leasehold interest entered into for a period of at least six months. So if you have a tenant on a twelve-month contract and they terminate their tenancy without your agreement before the end of that period then the tenant will continue to be liable for Council Tax until the end of the tenancy, or until you take possession of the property, whichever is the earliest date.

Where a tenancy is allowed to continue after a minimum six month period, it does so either on the basis of it being a statutory periodic tenancy created following an assured shorthold tenancy or by a continuation clause within the tenancy.

Where a tenancy has reverted to a statutory periodic tenancy then these are considered to be a new tenancy and in most cases, the tenant will not be liable for Council Tax after they cease to live in the property as their main home.

Where the tenancy contains a continuation clause after an initial period of at least six months then the tenant would continue to be liable for Council Tax until the date that the surrender of the tenancy has been accepted or the date that you have retaken possession of the property, whichever is earlier.

Please note that this advice is only in regard to the operation of Council Tax, it is not legal advice as to how you should write tenancy agreements.

From 1 April 2015, no discount is available on properties which are vacant, however, if you owned a property that was vacant (unoccupied and unfurnished) between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2015, you would qualify for a 100% discount on Council Tax for 14 days only.

  • Owners of properties that have been vacant for over two years will have to pay 200% Council Tax.
  • Owners of properties that have been vacant for over five years will have to pay 300% Council Tax.

The legal rules when we request information from you:

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.

Appeals

If you wish to appeal a council decision as you feel you should not be the person who is being charged or you disagree with the period you are being charged for, you can appeal. More information can be found on the Council Tax appeal page.

Please note: even if you disagree with how your bill has been calculated and have submitted an appeal you must pay your bill as it stands. If your bill is then changed at a later date you will be refunded any excess credit.

Rent your property out

Apply to rent your property out to our tenants. Renting your property out through us is quicker, easier and cheaper than doing it independently. 

Lease your property to us

Lease your property to us for 12 months or longer. We use it for temporary housing.

Grants and Loan

You can apply for a grant of up to £25,000 to make your empty property suitable to live in.

Also see

Landlord rights and responsibilities 

Last Modified: 10/10/2020 12:09:04