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Who pays the council tax in an HMO?

A typical Edinburgh tenement building loved by HMO landlords.
August 23, 2019 No Comments

Who pays the council tax in an HMO?


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Council tax liability in HMO flats in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a student city and many of Edinburgh’s letting agents manage HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation) properties. One of the first questions investors and landlords enquire about is – who will be liable for the council tax in an HMO in Edinburgh?

There are two types of HMO lettings

  • The property is let to a group of sharers.
  • Rooms are let out to individuals.

Flats let to a group of sharers

When a group of friends or sharers occupy a property on a joint tenancy (i.e. they have signed the same lease agreement), it is the tenants who are generally liable for a council tax. If all tenants are full time students, they would be exempt from the council tax. The exemption is not automatic – student occupiers must apply for this. The landlords or letting agents should provide the relevant local authority with the names of new tenants and their move in date.

Flats where rooms are let to individuals

In HMO properties where each bedroom becomes a separate dwelling and each tenant signs individual lease agreements, it is the landlord who is responsible for the council tax. Letting agents should recommend that landlords take the additional expense into account when setting rents. In this scenario rents quite often include other amenities, such as internet, gas and electricity.


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