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Rented properties and the Council Tax

This page gives information on Council Tax that will be useful to both tenants and landlords.
 
Do tenants have to pay Council Tax for the property they rent?

Usually, yes – if it’s their only or main home (their 'sole or main residence').  But if the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HIMO), the owner will usually be responsible for paying - see below for more about that.
If it’s not the tenant’s only or main home, then if their tenancy agreement is for six months or more, they will still have to pay Council Tax for it, but if their tenancy agreement is for less than six months, the owner will be responsible for paying.
 
What if a tenant moves out before the end of their 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 they are on a periodic tenancy agreement (sometimes called a 'rolling tenancy'), they won’t – the owner will be responsible.  From 01.04.13, the 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 01.04.2014).
 
What if the property is shared by two or more tenants?
If they are joint tenants, normally they will be jointly liable for the Council Tax (unless the property is a House in Multiple Occupation).  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.
 
What type of property is classed as a ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ (HIMO)?
 
The exact definition of a HIMO in the Council Tax regulations is given in ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ in the documents section.  This also gives detailed information about what we take into account when working out whether a property is a HIMO. 
 
As a general guide, we would usually class the following as a HIMO:
• an ordinary house turned into bedsits that each have a kitchen area, but there is only one bathroom that everyone shares; or
• a rented property where the tenants rent a room each; or
• a rented property where the tenants have separate tenancy agreements.
 
(Please note: these are examples only - there may be other types of property which meet the definition of a HIMO that are not mentioned here.  See the document 'Houses in Multiple Occupation' for more information.)