Council tax and HMO

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    Council tax and HMO

    Hi everyone, a very long story here.

    So I have a 3 bed flat which was rent out to two students and 1 professional in 2016. At the initial agreement, I told the professional that since the other two are students, maybe the whole flat would be exempted from council tax payment and you can save yourself a year worth of council tax. (they were on seperate ASTs).

    The students moved out in July 2017 and another professional had moved into the flat in Aug 2017. I have informed council and there was a switch over to council tax to these two tenants names. They had not paid council tax since. A third tenant- a student joint the flat in Dec 17 and the second professional (the one who moved in Aug 2017) had moved out in Jan 18 and another professional replaced him. I have acknowledged the council re the student status, but i think the council thinks there is only 2 occupants at the flat. Since it's been a mess with people moving in and out, my ongoing tenant has asked me to switch over the council tax bills back to me and he would transfer me the payment instead, in addition, the council has said since the occupants are all on seperate ASTs, it will need to switch back under the landlord's name anyway.

    So now, my tenant has refused to make the council tax payment and saying i'm harassing him. and he has sent me such links below. I was just wondering is it valid with what he said? and what is the best way to go about this situation now?

    Thanks everyone.

    Tower Hamlets guideline on HMO's clearly states that any house or flat occupied by three or more people is considered an HMO. Please read the first paragraph in the link below:-

    Local Government policy states the responsible for paying the council tax on an HMO lies solely with the landlord. This cannot be transposed onto other tenants by contract. (tenancy agreement)

    Furthermore, it is the landlord's responsibility to pay the council tax on HMO properties where students occupy. Please see the link below:'

    An exemption is possible where the property is "wholly" occupied by students. As you are fully aware this was not the case in this property because I am not a student. Please see the link below.

    Any attempts to divert this liability to occupiers in order to avoid paying council tax could be considered as fraud. Please see the link below:-

    Why would you tell the 'professional' he doesnt have to pay council tax? One non-student in the house renders the whole property liable to full CT. If the tenants have room only ASTs then you, the landlord are liable to pay the CT anyway. As youve advised tenants theyre not liable it looms like you can expect a bill for several years council tax any day now.


      When a property is occupied by tenants on different tenancy agreements (they're not all on one joint and several agreement) the landlord is responsible for paying the council tax.
      And it isn't possible to transfer liability to pay the council to one or more of the tenants.

      The student exemption is a non-starter because all of the occupants would have to be full-time students and claim the exemption.

      Hopefully, the tenancy agreement would cover the issue, and make it clear that the rent doesn't include the council tax which would be payable to the landlord as a supplement. It would depend on the wording of the tenancy agreement.

      You've probably already been billed for the council tax from 2016 - chances are that your local authority don't have the right address for you and are sending the invoices to the let property.
      If you haven't paid the tax since 2016, chances are that you owe some late fees, and might find the older debt has been passed to a collection company.

      I'd talk to the council and clear the debt as soon as possible, even if it means you pay some of the late fees.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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