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Houses in Multiple Occupancy (Council Tax)

Council Tax and HMOs

In Council Tax legislation, a house in multiple occupation is a dwelling which either:

  • was originally constructed or subsequently adapted for occupation by persons who do not constitute a single household
  • is inhabited by a person who (or by two or more persons each of whom) -
    • is a tenant of, or has a licence to occupy, only part of the dwelling, or
    • has a licence to occupy, but is not liable (whether alone or jointly with other persons) to pay rent or a licence fee in respect of the dwelling as a whole.

Liability for Council Tax

The owner of the property is liable to pay Council Tax if you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

For Council Tax purposes, a property that is occupied by more than one household (or by one or more tenants each with their own tenancy agreement for part of the property) is likely to be an HMO.

The tenants will be liable where there is only one tenancy agreement, with all the tenants names included for the whole of the property, and all of the rent due.

What constitutes a single household?

A household is either a single person or where members of the same family live together. A family includes people who are:

  • married or living together - including people in same-sex relationships
  • relatives or half-relatives, for example grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
  • step-parents and step-children

What sort of properties are HMOs?

Any of the following properties are likely to be houses in multiple occupation (HMOs):

  • Bedsits
  • Shared houses/student housing
  • Lodgings
  • Individual shared self-contained flats/cluster flats
  • Halls of residence (privately operated)

My HMO property is exempt as it is occupied by students; however, one has ceased studying. Who will be liable for the loss of my exemption?

The property would still be classed as a HMO and the owner would remain liable for the charge.

Will my property be a HMO or banded as self-contained dwellings?

HMOs with little or no adaptation: where minor adaptations have been added then the Valuation Office Agency can allocate one band. This could be where door locks are added and the occupants of the separately let parts share the kitchen and bathroom of the original house.

HMOs with adaptations to each floor: a single band can be given where each floor of a house let in parts has standard facilities and can be treated as a self-contained unit. This applies where the occupiers of the floor share a kitchen and a bathroom.