Understanding council tax responsibilities

All renters and landlords need to be aware of the rules surrounding council tax. With most rented houses and flats, the tenant will be liable to pay it. If there are two or more occupants on a joint tenancy agreement, they will be equally responsible, unless they are full-time students in which case they are exempt. However, when it comes to HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation), where there are multiple tenants with separate agreements, the responsibility falls to the landlord. Landlords must also pay council tax on properties which are unoccupied.

No matter what kind of property you are letting, the tenancy agreement should contain detailed information which makes it clear who is responsible. If council tax rises, this does not mean that the landlord automatically has a right to increase the rent. However, you may include this as a term in the tenancy agreement in order to avoid future disputes.

Rates of council tax differ greatly from area to area, and are not necessarily determined by property prices. In fact, some of the cheapest areas for council tax are in highly desirable areas of London, including Hammersmith and Fulham. It has also been announced that council tax in the borough will be frozen for the 2016/17 financial year, so tenants and landlords can feel comfortable in the knowledge that rates will not be rising any time soon.

Council tax can become complex as some local authorities differ in their definition of a HMO. This means it can be confusing for landlords and tenants to understand exactly who is liable. Here at Finefair, we have extensive expertise in the property market and can handle all kinds of investment properties in Hammersmith and Fulham and throughout the rest of London, ensuring that you are meeting all your legal obligations and preparing agreements which are fair for both the landlord and the tenant. Please get in touch if you require advice and help with this or any other property-related issue.