Council tax liability when Tenant Leaves Early - Periodic contract.

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    Council tax liability when Tenant Leaves Early - Periodic contract.

    I had a previous tenant on a periodic tenancy. He'd been with me for the last several years on a yearly renewed AST. He gave me notice on the 25th September 2019 that he was leaving on the 7th October 2019 as he had been allocated a housing association property.

    The rent date was the 5th of each month. I notified him of the proper leaving date which was supposed to be the 4th of November 2019. He ignored this and left anyway on the 7th October 2019.

    I managed to get new tenants in on the 6th November 2019.

    However I’ve now received a council tax demand for the 1 month of time the property was unoccupied.

    I emailed the council to say that the previous tenant was responsible up to the 4th of November and provided them with the copy of RLA tenancy agreement I had as proof. However the council have emailed me to say I’m responsible for the council tax.

    Quote “I have noted your comments but regrettably there is a strict hierarchy when determining liability for Council Tax and when the property has no resident (unoccupied) the owner becomes responsible for the payment of Council Tax regardless of any ongoing rental obligations by the tenants.”

    Looking through the RLA AST (2016 version) I had with the previous tenant it uses the words "continue as a statutory periodic tenancy" and not "contractual periodic tenancy" which is only mentioned in the 2018 version. Not sure if this will have any bearing on the council tax liability.

    Is what the council saying this correct? I read online something about the Leeds City Council v Broadley case not sure if this is of help to me?

    Please advise.

    #2
    Read the thread below on the same subject.

    https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...-leaving-early

    Comment


      #3
      You have to pay it and claim it back from tenant under contract (because there are two separate obligations operating here). I am presuming from your message that he was not in a fixed period at the time.

      The lessons are
      a) Never accept tenants who don't have at least something to lose (when you sue them) - otherwise the loss is all yours.
      b) Make sure you charge a high enough rent to account for the ministrations of City Councils

      The Councils should NOT be writing letters like this which could be taken to imply that the tenants do not owe council tax - they need to make it absolutely clear to L&T that this only applies to tax owed to them, but that it might in turn be owed to the landlord in turn under contract. The wording in your quote is highly inappropriate and is designed to create strife.

      I would sue the tenant as a mater of principle.

      Comment


        #4
        Was there a deposit?

        Comment


          #5
          I would agree that the council's wording here is less than ideal and suggests tenants are never responsible for an empty property which is most certainly not always the case.

          As advised read previous thread on a similar issues linked above.

          Another argument for renewing a periodic agreement rather than letting it roll. Tenant in such a case is liable until end of the tenancy or date LL accepts end of periodic tenancy/ regains access to property abandoned by tenant. I've seen cases of a T moving out a week after starting a 12 month periodic, which the LL then left empty leaving T liable for 12 months of empty property charge, obviously their own fault but unfortunate.

          Does council not offer any unfurnished discount? Check their website. Some do, some don't depending on local authorities 'budget'.

          Comment

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