Skip to content

Do Landlords Pay Council Tax..?

Renting a property comes at a price. Alongside paying for insurance and maintenance fees, council tax can be another expense landlords need to add to the list.

Generally, landlords aren’t responsible for paying council tax. But it depends on the circumstances and whether your rental is occupied or not.

In this article, we’ll explain who is responsible for paying council tax and in what circumstances the landlord must pay.

Who is Responsible for Paying Council Tax in a Rented Property?

Most of the time, your tenants will pay council tax. If they are renting the whole property as a sole tenant or joint tenant, the local council will send the bill directly to the tenants to pay. Joint tenants will have the bill split between them.

If your property is occupied by a licensee (which is anyone that lives in the property with permission) or another kind of resident (like a squatter), both types of occupiers are liable to pay council tax.

However, there are some exceptions to this. If any of the following apply, the landlord is liable to pay the council tax:

  • The property is empty and no tenants live there
  • The property is an HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy)
  • The property is a care home, hospital or refuge
  • All occupants are under the age of 18
  • All occupants are asylum seekers
  • All occupants are temporary residents and have another home elsewhere

Depending on the local council, some other exemptions may apply, so it’s best to check the local authority’s website where the property resides for a full list of exemptions.

Do Landlords Pay Council Tax When the Property is Empty?

Yes, landlords are generally responsible for paying council tax directly to the local authority when the property is empty. However, some additional exemptions apply that vary from council to council. Some councils will offer discounts for landlords depending on the length of time the property has been empty and what the circumstances are.

Check your local council website for more information about who pays the council tax when a property is empty or speak to a local letting agent to find out more.

Are Landlords Liable for Unpaid Council Tax?

Even though you own the property as the landlord, if your tenant doesn’t pay their council tax, you shouldn’t be liable to pay the debts.

The tenants living in the property are liable to pay their council tax and if they don’t pay, the debt is theirs and not yours. This remains the case even if your tenants move out while still indebted to the council.

Get Advice from a Letting Agent

For more advice on how to keep your running costs down as a landlord in Chelsfield, Langford Rae Property Agents are your local property experts. Our friendly team of letting agents are here to help you manage your property in the easiest and most efficient way.

Get in touch today for a chat about how our property management services can help by calling 01689862770 or emailing us at