Council Tax and Periodic Tenancy

Council Tax and Periodic Tenancy

15:26 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago 50

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Good morning,

I have just ring my local Council Tax office to advise them that a tenant has vacated my property. I was advised that the tenant had already notified them and that the date given was 8th April 2014.

I advised them that the tenancy actually ended on 24th May 2014. I was then told that as the tenant was on a Rolling Tenancy, they were only liable for the Council Tax until the day they actually moved out, which I was told was the 8th!

I pointed out that the tenant still had the keys and was in cleaning etc for the remaining time and that I was not aware that he had moved out. The CT office said this was a relatively new ruling but could tell me no more. They did give me four weeks exemption to do any remedial works, but I have effectively lost half of that allowance!

Has anyone else come across this new decision?

Carolcouncil tax

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Neil Patterson

15:32 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

Hi Carol,

Do you know if they registered to pay council tax at a different address and are paying it already?

Mick Roberts

15:40 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

I'm gonna get my comment in, so I get the replies. As I too since April this year & Tory Govt penalising us, have had a few little £33 etc. bills this year. For the tenant telling me went end of month, but really they left 10 days earlier & had a nice time painting their empty house whilst still living in mine rent & council Tax free-(Housing Benefit).

My solicitor is looking at my tenancies now (I don't want him altering too much what I know works in a possession court), but would like some'at in tenancy that covers for your post.
I have top man in Nottingham Council Tax Dept & even he couldn't help me, says something about my tenants rolling onto periodic tenancy which doesn't cover them for the council tax should they do their naughty bunk. Even though tenancy says months notice by them.

I'd imagine loads of us landlords are coming across this since April since we now have to pay for empty houses.

Romain Garcin

16:04 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

The council is correct in that this is the legal position:
As the tenancy was periodic they ceased to be liable for council tax the instant they ceased to be resident at the property even if the tenancy was continuing.

The only way to protect yourself against that situation is to have an indemnity/liability clause in your tenancy agreement, which is a common clause to have.
That way, if you become liable for CT during the tenancy the tenant then becomes liable to refund you.

Yvette Newbury

16:07 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

I don't do periodic tenancies for this very reason - it throws up all sorts of issues, in my opinion, that are swept aside by renewing the tenancy agreement every year for a further 12 months. If a tenant cannot commit to that length of time for the renewal I will agree to renew for a year with a break clause at 6 months. If they don't want to commit for that long (and depending on how the tenancy has run to date) I have agreed once of twice to a break clause prior to 6 months. Otherwise I would prefer to find new tenants who are willing to commit to one year. Whatever the situation, I ensure a new tenancy agreement is signed at least annually. As I always say, it really depends on where you are renting and to whom as to what works well for you, but I have always disliked periodic tenancies for my tenants. Any problems and I can produce to them a recent document they have signed in which they have agreed to various terms, rather than a tenancy agreement which now appears, to all intent and purposes, to have expired.


16:08 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

I assume you had a damage deposit, and that your contract says the tenant is liable for rent and utility bills, including council tax, until the day they are contracted to leave, or the date they explicitly told you they were leaving?

In which case, what's the problem? Just charge the council tax to the deposit. You are having to cover the council tax because the tenant has failed to pay to the contracted date, so I don't see why you can't claim it back. If the tenant has moved out early to a new address and is paying council tax there, that's his tough luck: he effectively has a second property and is still liable for rent and all the bills in both properties.

Carol Thomas

16:34 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Patterson" at "28/04/2014 - 15:32":

I'm not sure. I spoke to the tenant today and he was blissfully ignorant of what had occurred - he just did what the Council Tax advisor told him to do! I would imagine he has registered at his new property, he is a very responsible chap and was a great tenant.

Carol Thomas

16:36 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Yvette Newbury " at "28/04/2014 - 16:07":

Excellent idea Yvette, I will instruct my new agency to deal with this in the same manner. Thank you for your input.

Carol Thomas

16:38 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Atkins" at "28/04/2014 - 16:08":

Oops, this is the last property I will be handling on my own for this very reason! Once again I have returned the deposit too soon! Mea culpa etc. Hopefully Tony and the crew at lettingsupermarket will stop this happening to me now I have put my properties with them!

Adam Hosker

17:30 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

I wrote about this on PTribes previously, titled "If Periodic Tenancy YOU are liable for Council Tax !!".

It all revolves around what they call "Material Interest".

They quote a decision in the Hough Court, MacAttram v London Borough of Camden (2012) EWHC 1033. In particular, paragraph 24. Which outlines that periodic tenancies make it so the tenants have no "material interest"

The best solution is to ensure that a tenant is in a fixed tenancy.

Vanessa Barlow

17:47 PM, 28th April 2014, About 10 years ago

I am also experiencing a council tax anomaly, although a different situation. I bought a property in Feb and am just about to rent it out, but gave had to pay full council tax since the date I bought it. In theory I should have had 28 days exemption (was previously 6 months), but I was told that the previous owner had used this 28 day exemption in the period before I bought it, and therefore it was used up - the exemption applies to the property, not the owner. So anyone buying a new property, be aware that you may not be eligible for an exemption if the property is vacant when you but it, and the current owner will if they are knowledgeable will have used the exemption for themselves, thereby meaning it will be impossible for you to get one. OK, it's not a lot if money to be honest, but worth being aware (and beware!)

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