Houses in Multiple Occupation
Who has to pay the Council Tax?
There is one Council Tax bill for each property, whether it is a house, bungalow, flat, mobile home or houseboat, and whether or not it is owned or rented. In most cases, the person who has to pay the Council Tax is the first person who appears in the following list who is aged 18 or over and lives in the property as their main home:
- A resident freeholder
- A resident leaseholder
- A resident statutory or secure tenant
- An occupier under a licence
- Anyone else aged over 18 living in the property
- If no-one aged over 18 lives in the property, Council Tax liability transfers to the owner. In this situation, the owner is treated as the freeholder or leaseholder with a term of six months or more.
Are the residents always liable?
No, in certain cases, it is the owner, not the residents, who has to pay the Council Tax. The properties this applies to are as follows:
- Residential care homes and hostels
- Religious communities such as monasteries and convents
- Houses in multiple occupation
- A property with residents in domestic service
- The home of a minister of religion
- Asylum seekers housed under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
What is the definition of a HMO category property?
a) was originally constructed or subsequently adapted for occupation by people who are not part of a single household, or
b) is lived in by a person who, or by two or more persons each of whom either:
i) is a tenant of, or has a license to occupy, only part of the dwelling,or
ii) has a license to occupy, but is not liable (whether alone or jointly with other people) to pay rent or a license fee in respect of, the dwelling as a whole.
What details will be taken into account when deciding whether or not a property is a HMO?
- What is the internal layout of the property? (please note that a visit will be required)
- Was the property originally adapted to be occupied by people who are not part of the same household?
- Have any rooms been adapted from their original use so that they can be occupied by a number of individuals, rather than a family?
- Does the tenant pay rent for a room and shared facilities only?
- If one or more tenants leave, is the share of the rent increased for remaining occupant(s)?
- Can the tenant lock their room door when they leave?
- Are there shared kitchen and bathroom facilities?
- Who pays the utility bills?
- What information about the property is held by other teams in the Council?
What happens if the property is deemed to be a HMO?
The owner will be sent a letter to confirm that they have been held responsible for the Council Tax at the property. A bill will also be issued to show the payments required and the due dates.