Council Tax

  • Individual tenancies are treated differently to joint tenancies.
  • Students are treated differently to professionals.
  • Full time students are normally exempt.
  • Part-time students are not normally exempt.
  • A house fully occupied by benefit recipients who are all otherwise exempt ironically may nevertheless give rise to a Council Tax liability if they have individual tenancies and not joint tenancies.
  • Likewise a group of exempt students on individual tenancies would not constitute a student exempt house as this is classed as an HMO for which no exemption exists.
    • The responsibility to pay council tax arising from individual tenancies rests first with the landlord although this can be passed on to the tenants via proportionally increased rents.
    • If the tenants are not Joint Tenants this is likely the case
  • If a joint tenancy exists, the tenants; not the landlord, are jointly responsible for payment of C.T. at the band rate applicable.
  • If the house is solely occupied by “qualifying students” they are likely exempt.
  • Should circumstances change and a student drops out of uni., but remains in residence, then the house no longer has student exempt status.  However, only the non-student in this instance would become liable to pay C.T.
    • If only one resident is a non student then a 25% discount would apply reducing any liability.  However, band C equates to say £1200 pa in Canterbury and if this were the responsibility of just one tenant this is £100 per month less £25% = £75
  • Most houses are banded from A, B, C etc with A the cheapest and the last letter the dearest.  So if you live in a posh house and the house loses its student status, it could be expensive if you live in band F.
  • Most student houses are located in band C.  This fact is rarely relevant until a non student becomes resident.
    • Should students take in a lodger unknown to the landlord or agent and this person is not deemed to be exempt then  this could give rise to a C.T. liability.
  • Ultimately all residents are liable to pay unless exempt.
    • CT Exemption is not automatic, it must be applied for by asking the uni. registrar for a certificate of exemption.
    • Failure to provide certification to the City Council will give rise to a liability.
    • The City Council may backdate exemptions up to 6 months and occasionally longer if given good reasons for the delay e.g. bereavement of close family member.
    • Should circumstances change tenants must notify the City Council within 21 days, e.g. loss of entitlement to discount. The discount is applicable only for the duration of the course and this may last say 3 years.
    • However, if students remain in residence beyond the last day of their course then council tax is payable on a daily basis by all those still resident.
    • This is a good reason to leave quickly following the course termination date.
  • In the event the house suffers a void (including summer vacations), then owners become liable pro-rate, on a daily basis, with 90% liability – until a new tenancy is created.  New rules from 6 April 2013 indicate it will soon be 100% liability with no reduction.
    • It is ironic that just when a landlord suffers most he suffers yet more!
    • The policy behind this is not merely financial but to encourage maximum occupancy of housing stock to reduce homelessness.
  • Any non-exempt or non qualifying student substitute tenant could affect whether C.T. is payable in Canterbury see:
  • In Canterbury CCU and UKC students’ exemptions can be verified by The City Council if they have your I.D Card details. Leydon Lettings normally provide a table with all tenants’ details for this purpose but students should not rely on this and should submit their own application.

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