Council Tax Responsibility – Tenant or Landlord?

Filed in Landlords by on 4th September, 2019 0 Comments

If your tenant decides to leave before the tenancy term end date, who is legally responsible for paying the Council Tax up to that end date?

Under the terms of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, many councils will bill the landlord in the hope that the landlord will pay, however, a recent Court of Appeal case (Leeds Council V’s Broadley (2016)) sets a precedent that if the tenancy is for six months or more and it continues as a fixed term or it rolls over as a contractual periodic tenancy, then the tenant is responsible for paying the Council Tax up to the end of the tenancy period.

If you as a landlord are in receipt of a Council Tax bill for a vacated property and the circumstances are as above, we suggest you write to the council with reference to this court case and explain the situation. You will need to provide a copy of the tenancy agreement as proof of terms, dates and type of tenancy entered into. Note, the council will not know what terms you have entered into with the tenant, in the first instance they are likely to assume the landlords liability.

If the fixed term is less than six months or if the periodic term is ‘statutory’ as opposed to ‘contractual’, the responsibility to pay the remaining Council Tax is likely to reside with the landlord.

A summary of the case in question can be read here: Leeds Council V’s Broadley 2016.

The full case proceedings can be found here: England & Wales Court of Appeal Decision.

About the Author ()

Rob Crawford is the chairman of the Association of Local Landlords (Wessex). Rob is a practicing landlord with a property portfolio that includes small private residential properties and HMO's. Rob is a qualified letting agent and former owner of Kingfisher Lettings & Management. He is now a share holder of the successful online lettings company

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