Landlords, letting agents and tenants

Houses in multiple occupation

Find out if a property is classed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) for council tax purposes, who is responsible for paying the bill and whether any discounts or exemptions apply.

Definition of a HMO for council tax purposes

A property is classed as a house in multiple occupation for council tax purposes if it meets one of the following conditions:

  • the tenant rents a room and has use of a shared kitchen and possibly shared bathroom
  • the tenants are renting the whole house together but each tenant has their own tenancy agreement and pays only their own rent
  • the property was constructed, or subsequently adapted, for occupation by people who do not constitute a single household, for example a house turned into bedsits with a shared kitchen and locks on the bedroom doors

Responsibility for the council tax bill

The owners of HMOs are responsible for paying the council tax bill.

Some HMOs require a licence. Find out if you need to apply for a licence.

Discounts and exemptions for HMOs occupied by students

What if all the people living in a HMO are full-time students?

If all the tenants in a HMO are full-time students, the property will be exempt from council tax.

What if there is a mix of full-time students and others living in a HMO?

If there is one person who is not a full-time student living in a property, a discount will apply. If there are two or more people who aren’t full-time students living in a property, no discount will be granted.

How to claim an exemption or discount

Landlords need to provide the information below before we can consider awarding the exemption or discount:

  • tenants’ names
  • student ID numbers
  • start and end dates of students’ courses and where they are studying

We may also ask for Council tax Student Certificates.

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