Non-resident landlord made liable

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    I have an HB claimant with an assured shorthold tenancy, who lives in the property with his wife. They have been there for a couple of years and the landlord lives elsewhere. However, the liable person has always been the landlord and he is (apparently) happily paying the Council Tax and presumably incorporating this into the rent – even though there is a significant shortfall between the contractual rent and the Rent Officer’s determination.

    I have advised our CTax department of this and, although they agree that the tenant is higher on the hierarchy than the non-resident landlord, they do not intend to change the liability.

    There are no disregarded persons involved, no exemptions apply. So my question is, does the CTax legislation allow what is tantamount to a discretionary decision in these circumstances?

    Steve H


    You are correct and the Council Tax section should be amending the Council Tax records to make the tenants liable.

    I am not aware of anything in the Local Government Finance Act or any subsequent Act that gives a Council discretion to ignore the heirarchy even if all parties agree to it.

    If they are not disregarded/exempt, the only way that I can think it could be left as is (off the top of my head) is if it is considered a house of multiple occupation, then the non-resident landlord could be charged the Council Tax. The tenancy you hold for the Benefit claim should however indicate if that could be the case.

    If the landlord refuses to pay, your Council Tax section could not take enforcement action against him, so I think leaving it wrong could just store up a problem – not withstanding an observant auditor may perhaps pose the logical question to the Benefit team that the claimant must reside with their landlord as he is liable for the Council Tax?

    Hope this helps, Steve

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