Council tax liability if one bedroom is locked?

by Readers Question

11:31 AM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Council tax liability if one bedroom is locked?

Make Text Bigger
Council tax liability if one bedroom is locked?

I am renting what it is a two bedroom flat as a one bedroom flat. The owner keeps a room locked, never accessed it in 2 years (was told for storage). The property is band D and I think that the landlord is liable for council tax regardless of the AST agreement or whether they live here or not.lock

Am I Wright to believe so?

Jenny



Comments

LVW4

12:56 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

My tenants have always been liable for Council Tax.

nathan stark

13:00 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

I wouldn't no believe the landlord is responsible for it.

Am guessing you are paying the rent for a 1 bedroom flat, rather than the higher 2 bedroom flat rent. So he has given you a good deal.

So he has made you aware when you moved in, and didn't advise it was included so it would be down to you?

Kelly Joanna

13:01 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

I'm not an expert however, as you do not have exclusive use of the whole property you should have a license agreement. This license should state what bills you are liable for and which the landlord is liable for. As the main resident, you would have a hard time arguing your case with the local authority I suspect.

Ray Davison

13:03 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

If you don't have unrestricted access to the whole property then you have a room rent and the LL is responsible for the council tax.

Steve From Leicester

13:10 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

If it says in your tenancy agreement that you're liable for the council tax then you're liable for the council tax.

I suppose you could argue that because of the locked room you technically you haven't got exclusive possession of the property, therefore the tenancy agreement is invalid and you merely have a licence to occupy. However you'd be in the realms of messy legal arguments and its certainly not an easy way to stitch your landlord up and make him pay your council tax.

It would also be a hollow victory as you'd then have less rights (because you'd be a licencee instead of a tenant).

Robert Mellors

13:10 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

This seems to be a peculiar set up. If you are renting a flat then you should have access to all rooms within the flat. Does the landlord claim to have a right to enter the flat to access the locked bedroom (storage room)?

If you do not have exclusive access to the whole flat, then in effect the landlord is only renting a room to you with shared access/use of the other facilities (bathroom, kitchen, etc), regardless of whether, in practice, he chooses to access these or not. - I suggest you take a good look at your tenancy agreement, and see whether what it says is actually what you get.

If you are the sole tenant of the whole flat (have exclusive possession) then you are liable for the Council Tax.

If you have exclusive possession of just your room, plus shared use of other facilities, then the landlord is liable for the Council Tax.

nathan stark

13:14 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

You would have to talk to Council, as what Ray Davison is saying is right, based on an HMO, your landlord would be responsible.

But, its not in multiple occupation, and you only restricted access to one room. So I would leave it to council to decide.

Colin Dartnell

13:16 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Who has been paying it for the last two years?

Romain Garcin

13:38 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

Hi Jenny,

First of all, what the tenancy agreement says is irrelevant with respect to liability to the council.
However, if it can create a liability to the landlord so even if your landlord has to pay the council you may still have to reimburse your landlord.

In your case I don't think that your landlord is liable because although you only have a tenancy for part of the property you are still the only tenant: Therefore the property is not an HMO for council tax purposes.

Ray Davison

13:53 PM, 2nd February 2016
About 3 years ago

The other thing to consider Jenny, is what you and the LL agreed at the outset. If you are attempting to wriggle out of part of that understanding then don't be surprised if you cause a breakdown in the trust between the two of you.

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Want to avoid empty properties over Christmas?

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More