It is far from unusual to see landlords and letting agents advertise a property (often wrongly) with a rent stated as being ‘inclusive of Council Tax’.
As far as your Local Authority (and legislation) is concerned it’s not always that easy. Getting it wrong can be expensive for you.
What is Council Tax liability ?
Council Tax liability (the person whose name should be on the demand notice) is determined by the Local Authority solely with reference to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 – a tenancy agreement cannot override or change the determination of who should pay the Council Tax charge.
Should I be liable for the Council Tax ?
In simplified terms the Council Tax liability will usually be:
In a property which is a HMO – the landlord
In a property where you just rent a room – the landlord
In a property where you are a sole tenant – the tenant
In a property where you are a joint tenant – the joint tenants
The Local Authority has a legal duty to ensure the Council Tax liability is correct – if required they can serve a legal notice to obtain the information needed to make the determination. If they determine that the Council tax liability is in the wrong name then you could receive a large backdated demand for payment.
Can a tenancy agreement change Council Tax liability ?
A tenancy agreement will be considered for Council Tax liability purposes only as far as determining liability in line with legislation. Any terms in a tenancy agreement which go against legislation will be ignored by the Local Authority.
Any tenancy agreement which also includes an agreement from the landlord to pay the local authority on your behalf should also be considered very carefully.
Why should I be concerned about the landlord paying the rent ?
A couple of real life situations that you should be aware of where the Local Authority have stepped in correct the Council Tax liability. :
- A tenant agreed that the landlord would pass money to the Local Authority for a property on which they were liable. The landlord paid this out of the rent and then fell out with the tenant. He contacted the Local Authority and stated he’d made the payments in ‘error’. As he had proof of payment the landlord was refunded and the tenants sent a large backdated demand notice.
- A tenant agreed that the landlord will pass money to the Local Authority for a property on which they are liable. The landlord failed to pay monies to the Local Authority. As the tenant was the correct liable party they were the one who got the court summons, not the landlord.
Assistance from LGFA92
Good quality help with your Council Tax dispute can be hard to come across – there’s a lack of independent, expert, places where you can get the help you need however LGFA92 are here to change that. See how we can help today
Contact us today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Call our Council Tax helpline on 0191 6451118.
This article is solely the view of LGFA92, the Council Tax experts, based on our interpretation of legislation. Your local authority is free to dispute this view. A binding decision may require the intervention of a valuation tribunal.