Guidance for Landlords

Landlords are liable for council tax if:

  • they live in the property with the tenants
  • the property is regarded as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)
    (This means if the residents pay their rent to the landlord separately for their own room or part of the property and they share communal areas like the kitchen and bathroom. The tenants will usually have individual tenancy agreements.)
  • the property is unoccupied because it is nobody's main home.

In these cases where you are liable to pay, you are not entitled to receive council tax benefit in respect of any residents on a low income. This does not affect any entitlement to housing benefit

How much will I pay if the property is unoccupied?

If the property is furnished you will pay the full council tax charge.

When a property first becomes unfurnished there will be nothing to pay for the first month (a 100% discount will be applied) after this the full charge will be due.

Am I exempt from paying?

In certain instances you may be exempt from paying council tax for a limited time (for instance if the property is brand new) or indefinitely until the circumstances change (for example if the residents are all under 18 years old).

The information pages on Empty Property and Exemptions explain this further.

What if students occupy your property?

Students are not exempt from being liable to council tax, unless they occupy a property with non-students, so the usual rules of determining liability apply. For example, if they hold a joint tenancy agreement then the bill will be in the students' names.

However, students are 'not counted' (they are disregarded) in calculating the council tax bill so a discount or full exemption may be due, depending on how many non-students live there.

If you wish to claim a discount or exemption then you must tell us the full names and moving in dates of all of the students. You must then ensure that they send us their current student certificates to prove their status (issued by their college or university).

Please keep us fully informed when students move in and out because once they leave a property it may no longer be possible to prove their student status.

Provided the same students hold the tenancy agreement and continue to study the same course, discounts and exemptions will continue when the students return to the property for the term-time after holidays. If the students change then you must inform us straight away so we can review the bill. We normally write to all our student households each year to review who the residents are and their student status. Please do not wait for this review to advise us of changes. Remember we can only award discounts and exemptions if we receive the appropriate student certificates and are kept informed of who has moved in and out.

To check who qualifies as a student for council tax purposes and for more details on reductions, see the Students page.

Keeping us informed

If you are a landlord, it is important to contact us as soon as tenancy changes happen.