The issue of Council Tax liability in respect of squatters is a question that comes up from time to time with landlords. Can someone who is squatting be held liable for the Council Tax charge or should the landlord be responsible for the charge ?.
Can a squatter be liable for Council Tax ?
Can a squatter become liable for the Council Tax charge on a property which they are occupying ? Council Tax liability is determined under Section 6 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (LGFA92) and this therefore needs to be considered to determine it correctly.
Where there isn’t a resident owner or tenant in a property, but someone is resident in the property, then the Council Tax liability reverts to the individual who;
…(e)he is such a resident;…
For Council Tax purposes a resident is
“resident”, in relation to any dwelling, means an individual who has attained the age of 18 years and has his sole or main residence in the dwelling.
It doesn’t matter whether the person who is squatting is occupying the property legally or not, the only consideration in these circumstances is that they meet the requirement of being ‘resident’ for Council Tax purposes.
In most cases it would only be for any particular days where there is no resident in the property that the Council Tax liability would revert to the non-resident landlord.
Can a landlord be held liable for the Council Tax ?
Where Council Tax legislation determines that someone should be liable for the Council Tax charge then the landlord cannot be held liable for this unless legislation determines that the charge should be in their name. In the case of someone who is squatting then they should usually be liable for the Council Tax charge and therefore the landlord should contact the Local Authority as soon as possible.
Advice & Assistance from LGFA92
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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.