The Residential Landlords Association is intervening after Leeds Council announced it would appeal a High Court ruling on council tax that found in favour of a PRS landlord.
The case of Leeds City Council v Broadley centred around the question of who is responsible for paying the council tax on a property if the tenant moves out, but a periodic tenancy agreement is still in place – the tenant or the landlord?
Leeds City Council had demanded council tax for five properties from landlord Mr Broadley, for periods when the homes were empty but the tenancies had not been formally ended by either party.
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 as this would offend the principle of uncertainty.
Mr Broadley 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 High Court rejected the council’s claim, saying there was no uncertainty of term and that the council tax liability remained with the tenant and not Mr Broadley.
Leeds City Council has been given permission to appeal that decision to the Court of Appeal and the appeal will be held in November.
As a result of this the RLA has instructed Giles Peaker of Anthony Gold and Barrister Justin Bates of Arden Chambers, who will be intervening on behalf of the association to protect the interests of landlords.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA said: “We made the decision to intervene as we believe the decision of the High Court is absolutely correct and should be upheld.
“What Leeds City Council is arguing attacks some of the basic principles of tenure and if the court had accepted it there would be huge legal implications in terms of tenancies, deposit protection and the Housing Act itself.
“It will also have immediate and substantial effects for a great many landlords who will find themselves being asked to pay council tax on behalf of their tenants despite it being agreed that the tenants will make payment.
“The RLA is committed to representing the interests of our landlords at the very highest level and it is our belief that this appeal should be, and will be rejected.”
To read the RLA’s guide to council tax liability click here.