When is a landlord responsible for council tax?

Council tax is the fiddly cost that so many of us forget about and neglect to factor into our monthly expenses.

It is, however, a priority bill that could lead to expensive and damaging court proceedings if not paid.

With council tax rising by as much as 9.97 per cent in some regions recently, landlords must know whether or not they are liable to pay it on any of their properties and how much they’ll need to set aside if they want to keep their portfolio spotless.

Here, we’ll go through the questions that all landlords should be asking, and getting to grips with what exactly their council tax obligations are and what those responsibilities mean.

Who pays council tax, landlords or tenants?

Many landlords are unsure about whether they are responsible for paying council tax or if it is paid by their tenants. In the majority of cases, there is a standard hierarchy to follow.

This starts with any adult over 18 years of age who is occupying the property on an individual tenancy agreement. So, if the landlord is not residing in the property they are not usually responsible for paying council tax.

If there is a joint tenancy on the property, all the named tenants are responsible for council tax payments. If the landlord subdivides the tenancy and lets it out to a number of tenants, the landlord is responsible for paying council tax.

When is a landlord responsible for council tax?

When do landlords pay council tax?

In the majority of circumstances, tenants in Scotland, England and Wales are liable for paying council tax. However, if the property is unoccupied or multiple or joint tenants are living in the property, the landlord will be liable.

Generally speaking, responsibility is determined by a hierarchy of liability, which means it starts with the tenant and ends with the landlord.

It’s also important to note that in order to pay council tax bills, a tenant must be over the age of 18, which is one of the many reasons why landlords typically do not offer tenancies to people under that age.

Also, if a property is fully occupied by full time students then no council tax needs to be paid.