Landlords have welcomed an Appeal Court ruling that buy-to-let landlords are not responsible for paying the council tax on a property after a tenant has moved out before a tenancy agreement has expired.
The appeal was brought by Leeds City Council which demanded that council tax be paid by a landlord for five properties for periods when the homes were vacant but the tenancies had not been formally ended by either a landlord or his tenants.
The tenancies in question were contractual periodic tenancies following a fixed-term and the council’s argument was based on the claim that a single tenancy cannot be both a fixed-term and periodic.
The landlord argued that the contract created a single tenancy whose term was six months and thereafter continuing as a monthly tenancy. This would have the same effect as a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy.
The council appealed against a High Court rejection of the claim saying there was no uncertainty of term and that the council tax liability remained with the tenant and not the landlord.
“The RLA is very pleased with this decision which upholds the basic principles of tenure,” said David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association.