Rented properties and the Council Tax
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Rented properties and the Council Tax

This page provides information on council tax that will be useful to both tenants and landlords. More information is also available for landlords on the related page Council Tax Information for Landlords.

Tenants have to pay council tax for the property they rent if it’s their only or main home (their 'sole or main residence').
If the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HIMO), the owner will usually be responsible for paying.

Properties that are classed as a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ (HIMO)

As a general guide, we would usually class the following residences as a HIMO:

  • an ordinary house turned into bedsits, each having a kitchen area, but there is only one bathroom that everyone shares
  • a rented property where the tenants rent a room each
  • a rented property where the tenants have separate tenancy agreements
These are examples only and there may be other types of property which meet the definition of a HIMO.

For more information about the exact definition of a HIMO in the council tax regulations and, information about what we take into account when working out whether a property is a HIMO see the document ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ in the documents section.​​​​

Click to expandWhat if the property is not my main or only home but my tenancy agreement is for more or less than six months?

If the property you are renting is not your only or main home and your tenancy agreement is for six months or more, you will still have to pay Council Tax for it.

If the property you are renting is not your only or main home and your tenancy agreement is for less than six months, the owner will be responsible for paying.

For more information on how we decide if a property is your main residence see the related page “How your sole or main residence affects your Council Tax.” 

Click to expandWhat happens if I move out before the end of my tenancy agreement?

If it’s a tenancy agreement for six months or more, the tenant will usually have to pay Council Tax up until the official tenancy end-date (unless someone else moves in before then). But if a tenant's six-month tenancy has ended and their tenancy has become a 'rolling' periodic tenancy, they usually can't be held liable for any empty charges once they move out unless their tenancy agreement contains a “continuation clause” which provides that the same fixed term tenancy will continue as a periodic tenancy once the initial fixed term period has come to an end. In cases where tenancy agreements contain a “continuation clause” then the tenant will still be classed as ‘the owner‘ and therefore liable for any empty charges until the tenancy is terminated, even if they have vacated the property.

Please note that from 1 April 2013, full Council Tax is payable for a home which nobody lives in (unless the property is unoccupied and unfurnished for 7 days or less, in which case a 100% discount can be granted for the unoccupied period but only if the unoccupied period is after 1 April 2014). Please see the document “Unoccupied rented properties” for further help.​​​​

Click to expandWhat if the property is shared by two or more tenants?

If they are joint tenants on one joint tenancy they will be jointly liable for the council tax. If the tenants are on separate tenancies the property will be classed as a House in Multiple Occupation and the owner will be liable to pay council tax. Joint tenants are not responsible for just a share of the amount payable each – they are all liable for the whole amount of council tax.

Click to expandDo I have to pay the full amount of council tax for the year if my tenancy doesn't last a year?

​No, but we will need to re-calculate your bill closer to the time your tenancy will end. Any overpayment will be refunded. When you are certain that you are vacating the property please email us with:

The date you're moving
The date your tenancy ends (if different)
The address you're moving to.

If you don't know where you'll be moving to please provide a forwarding address for correspondence.

We can then send you your closing bill and/or issue a refund for any overpayment.

To view documents in PDF format you will require the free Download Adobe Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader

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