Court of Appeal council tax victory for landlords

Scales of JusticeA Court of Appeal ruling in a landlord’s favour has wide implications for the buy-to-let sector. It confirms that – if there is an initial term of at least six months – landlords will not be liable for council tax if the tenant renting their property moves out before the tenancy agreement has expired.

The landlord in Leeds City Council v Broadley had refused to pay council tax for five properties he owned, which were empty although the tenancies had not been formally ended. The tenancies had started as six or 12-month fixed-term agreements and then continued as monthly periodic tenancies.

The council brought the case, arguing that a single tenancy could not be simultaneously fixed term and periodic. The landlord, meanwhile, argued that a contract created a single tenancy, which started with a six or 12-month term and then continued as a monthly tenancy.

The significance of whether the tenancies were fixed term or periodic is that, if a term of at least six months is granted, the tenant becomes liable to pay council tax.

The Court of Appeal agreed with a previous High Court ruling and rejected the council’s argument. It confirmed that the council-tax liability rested with the tenant and not the landlord.

Expert legal advice on tenancy agreement disputes

For expert legal advice on disputes arising from tenancy agreements please contact Senior Associate Solicitor Daniela Catuara by email or call her on 01323 435900. To learn about Daniela’s skills and experience please view her website profile.

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