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Question

Council Tax (Wales)

Council tax liability hmo student plus worker.

10 Jun 2020 | 1 comment

 

I have a HMO rented to a group of five students. One tenancy, jointly and equally liable. I have no idea who sleeps in which room as they have the whole house as joint tenants. They share kitchen and bathroom, lounge. Communications between them and the agents relating to repairs can be with any member, not necessarily all of them as is the case for notifications of visits by contractors or the agents. Essentially they function as a group. One dropped out of studying and the agents said that I as the landlord was now responsible for payment of the council tax, but as the tenancy agreement stated that the tenants were responsible then they, the agents would collect it from the tenants and pay it to the Council, which is what they are doing at the moment. However, I queried this with the council and have the following reply. Am I reading it wrongly when I interpret it as meaning that I am NOT responsible? Thank you.

 

‘’Liability for Council Tax

Liability for Council Tax is determined by the nature of the property concerned and the rental arrangement for the property. If the property is rented to tenants who constitute a single household, i.e. on a joint tenancy agreement as indicated the tenants are the liable persons for any Council Tax for the duration of their tenancy.

If a property is a HMO for Council Tax purposes (see below for full definition) and is rented to persons who do not constitute a single household (on separate tenancy agreements, on a room by room basis, tenants share cooking and washing facilities) the owner of the property is the liable person.

  1. Student Reductions.

A property which is solely occupied by students is exempt. A property in which all except one of the occupants are students attracts a discount of 25%. A property in which 2 or more occupants are not students attracts the full charge.

I would therefore advise that if you were the owner of a student property which was exempt but following a withdrawal from a course exemption no longer applied, liability would be determined in accordance with Council Tax legislation and would depend on the nature of the property as described above. If the property was occupied by tenants on a joint agreement the tenants would become the liable persons (subject to Council Tax legislation concerning students).’’

Answer

1 Comment

  1. Imported

    01/12/2018 11:00 am

    You are correct that where the whole house is let on a single tenancy, the tenants are generally liable. A landlord is liable if part of a building is let (e.g. a bedroom).

    There is one caveat to this but it’s not commonly considered by councils: if the house has been converted or adapted so it could be let separately (locks on bedroom doors for example), that too is an HMO for council tax purposes. However, as we say, this doesn’t appear to be commonly used by councils and generally, they simply look at the letting (whole house or part of a house). We guess the reason is, the house would require an inspection to determine if an adaptation has been made.

    Please see this article for full details of the definition of an HMO for council tax purposes and follow the link within that article for an adaptation case.

    guildy

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