The Appeal Court has ruled landlords are not responsible for paying council tax on a property when a tenant moves out before their tenancy agreement has expired, following an intervention from the RLA.
In the case of Leeds City Council v Broadley 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.
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.
Leeds City Council appealed against a High Court rejection of the its claim saying there was no uncertainty of term and that the council tax liability remained with the tenant and not the landlord.
The RLA instructed Giles Peaker of Anthony Gold and Barrister Justin Bates of Arden Chambers, to intervene on behalf of the association to protect the interests of landlords as, had the appeal succeeded, the decision would have huge legal implications in terms of tenancies, deposit protection and the Housing Act itself.
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association which intervened in the case on behalf of landlords said: “The RLA is very pleased with this decision which upholds the basic principles of tenure”.