How can I be liable for my tenants Council Tax?

How can I be liable for my tenants Council Tax?

13:47 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago 7

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Readers QuestionHello all

I am a subscriber of Property118 but cannot find the correct page to ask my fellow readers about a dilemma………

Last year I privately rented my house to a tenant.  He put his name down as a single tenant and paid his council tax as normal. 

Since he moved out the council have been sending me letters saying that I owe them a bill for the time he lived there.

I am liable to pay this bill even though I did not live there? Please help


Dilep Singh

See Mark’s answers in the Comments section below

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

14:00 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Dilep

There isn't a facility for subscribers to add their own posts. All post are added by a member of the Property118 team. You emailed me at and that's exactly what we encourage people to do.

With regards to your Council tax issue I can't understand why you are having problems.

My first question is; how do you know that your tenant paid his Council tax or is that just an assumption you have made?

Did you inform the Council of your new tenants details when they moved in and again when they moved out? This is not a legal requirement but it does make things a lot simpler.

If you didn't do that you should just be able to show the Council your tenancy agreement as evidence of the tenancy.

Mary Latham

14:56 PM, 26th November 2012, About 11 years ago

As Mark has said you need to send them a copy of the tenancy agreement but also send them the forwarding address of the tenant and any other information you have for contacting him.
Landlords should take full name, date of birth, national insurance number for every tenant and make certain that you have seen evidence of this information. Make sure that you have a clause in your tenancy agreement to allow you to share information in relation to your business. With this information and a copy of your tenancy agreement the local authorities and utility companies will trace the tenant and will not need to involve the landlord any further.
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17:00 PM, 27th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Mary
I emailed them a bill in the tenants name and the tenancy agreement. He left a month before the end of the tenancy, taking his belongings and trashing the house for good measure. I thought an AST is legal? the council told me the AST I produced has no start date?! and no end date either.....I tried to contact the old tenant but his phone no longer connects (surprise surprise). Now the council have sent me bailiffs action letters! Please help

Neil Robb

17:33 PM, 27th November 2012, About 11 years ago

I have been in a similar situation as yourself. The letting agent insisted they told the council a tennant moved in, the council denied this and I was left with a bill of £2500.00 The council said they would not correct this retrospectively. I manage to speak to the manager of the department who asked me for proof I sent him copies of each statement showing rent paid and he kindly allowed this to be put in the ex tennants name. Try and work with the council over this and do not ignore this as it can affect your future credit rating. Be calm and patient people respond better that way explian your situation as you said you showed them the bill in his name. so you are not responsible for that bill.

Mary Latham

21:27 PM, 27th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi Facebook, Neil has given you some good advice. From your post it seems that the tenancy agreement is not as it should be? I'm sorry if I have misunderstood you but is there a start date on the agreement? If not I can see where the local authority may have concerns, there does not need to be an end date but if there is no start date they will not know when the tenants liablity began. Showing them a bill, I assume for a utility, in the tenants name is helpful in showing that the was actually living there but the problem is that anyone can put a bill into the name of anyone else - tenants have put them in my name in the past and it was only the tenancy agreement that proved otherwise. While there is no legal requirement to have a tenancy agreement this is the only way that a landlord can actually prove that someone has SIGNED to take on the property and all its bills, without this signiture it is very difficult to prove anything. If you took a deposit and can prove that is was protected this would help? If the tenant swnt you any emails or letters in relation to the tenancy this is also helpful. You need to get any documents that you can prove came from the tenant together. Did he pay by standing order or bank transfer? Has any post arrived in his name since he left? You need something to show the local authority because a landlord does not need to live in a property that he owns he will still be liable for the council tax and standing charges on utilities if he cannot prove that there was a tenant living there.
Im sorry that I cannot offer you any more helpful advice but the onus of prove is with you and, as Neil said, you should not ignore this go and talk to the local authority and take anything you have to prove that this person lived in the property.
Good luck
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9:26 AM, 29th November 2012, About 11 years ago

You are NOT liable so long as you can prove categorically that your tenant lived at the property.. How you do that is another question, but i have had similar problems with tenants and had positive outcomes with the council. Perhaps a letter from the letting agent to prove when they moved in etc etc. In any case if he was paying then stopped (and the council assume he moved out and vacated) you could look into is advising the council that the property was empty and unfurnished in the period immediately after the tenant moved out-which i assume it was, they then have to give you a 6month exemption-fight your case on this and do the research and you should be OK...Good luck John.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:30 AM, 29th November 2012, About 11 years ago

Hi John

I think you may be a bit out of date in terms of 6 month exemptions, a lot of Councils no longer provide these.

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