Students and unoccupied property – liability and paying

By | October 21, 2016

Students council taxA common query that comes up in dealing with Council Tax is to whether students are liable for Council Tax on a property which they are no longer occupying and whether they are responsible for payment.

This is not a straight forward area and requires consideration of several issues.

Are students liable for the charge whilst not resident?

The primary issue to consider is liability – liability essentially being the person whose name goes on the demand notice for any charge that is (or may) be due.

Whilst there’s no-one resident in the property, for example all of the students have left, then a determination needs to be made as whether or not liability still falls on the tenants as ‘owner‘ – this consideration needs to be made for each day of the period in question (Section 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).

If the tenants are found to fall liable as the ‘owner‘ for Council Tax purposes (Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992) then a further consideration, shown below, needs to be made – this consideration also needs to be made for each day of the period in question (Section 2 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).

  • If all of the tenants who are liable are full-time students then they will remain jointly liable for the Council Tax charge for that day (Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).
  • If all of the tenants are no longer full-time students then they will remain jointly liable for the Council Tax charge for that day (Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992).
  • If any of the tenants are still full-time students then they will not be held jointly liable for the Council Tax charge for that day if there are any non-student tenants. The non-student tenants will be liable. (Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992)If the situation of any of the tenants changes at any point then the Council Tax liability will need to be re-assessed to check if it has changed.

    The situation may be different in cases where one of the liable parties is only liable by virtue of being a spouse or partner. (Section 9 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992). Contact us for further help on this situation.

Is the property exempt ?

A property which is ‘occupied’ only by full-time students is exempt as a Class N property (Council Tax (exempt dwellings) Order 1992). The 1992 Order defines occupied as such – “unoccupied dwelling” means a dwelling in which no one lives and “occupied” shall be construed accordingly.

Where a property is no-longer occupied a Class N exemption cannot be awarded, even in cases where the tenants are full-time students and remain liable for the Council Tax charge as ‘owners’.

If all of the tenants who are liable as ‘owners’ are still full time students, and they are no longer occupying the property, then a Class K exemption may instead be applicable.

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 info@lgfa92.co.uk, 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.

 

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