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Glasgow City Council

Council Tax Liability Rules for Landlords

Landlords and tenants of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are often confused about the fact that owners, not tenants, are liable for the payment of council tax on these properties.

Who is a liable person?

It is the person or persons responsible to pay council tax for each property. There are over 297,600 domestic properties in Glasgow and each one attracts a council tax charge. It is the job of the council tax office to identify the liable person or persons for each property.

The council tax rules state that there can only be one bill to cover a particular period of time. Where there is more than one person identified as being the liable person, they will all be named on the bill.

It is important to note that in these cases, each person named on the bill, is responsible for paying the full amount due, not just their 'share' of it. If the bill is not paid in full, we can take action to recover any overdue amounts from any of the named persons to ensure the whole amount outstanding is paid in full.

Council tax rules set out the order of who is liable for the charge.

The liable person is the person who appears first on this list.

  • Resident owner.
  • Resident tenant.
  • Resident who is a statutory tenant, statutory assured tenant or a secure tenant.
  • Resident sub-tenant.
  • Any other resident.
  • The sub-tenant of the whole or any part of the dwelling under a sub-lease granted for a term of 6 months or more.
  • The tenant, under a lease granted for a term of 6 months or more, of any part of the dwelling which is not subject to a sub-lease granted for a term of 6 months or more.
  • The owner of any part of the dwelling with a tenant whose lease is under 6 months.

How do I appeal to the final decision?

If you disagree with our final decision you must make your appeal in writing to:

The Secretary of the Glasgow Valuation Appeal Committee
19 Main Road
By Beith
KA15 2LF

What if no one lives in the property?

We can grant an exemption on the property if it is unoccupied and unfurnished or a discount if the property is unoccupied and furnished.

Where no one lives in a property, and the property is furnished then a discounted charge will apply from the date the last person leaves.

If no one lives in a property, and the property is unfurnished, the property is exempt for up to 6 months from the date the furniture is removed. It will then go onto the discounted charge whether furnished or not.

If furniture is put into the property during the 6 month exempt period, the exemption will cease. If no one lives there, you will still be able to claim a discount.

Both exemptions and discounts will cease if someone occupies the property.

Are there times when the owner is always liable?

In some situations the owner rather than the tenants of a property is always liable for council tax. This applies to: owners of care homes, owners of properties occupied by religious communities, owners of properties occupied by staff in domestic service, properties occupied by serving Ministers of Religion, and owners of properties used to house asylum seekers.

More commonly are those properties classed as houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

What is a HMO?

There are a number of different definitions of what is a HMO, such as for environmental health or housing issues, as well as council tax. These definitions are:

  • A property that has been built or adapted for tenants or licensees to live in, who are not living as a single household,


  • A property lived in by a person or persons, each of whom has a tenancy or licence to live in only part of the property or who pays rent or a fee for only part of the property.

It is perhaps worth noting that there are other definitions of HMO in use, for the purposes of fire safety and environmental health issues. We are not concerned with those here and please note that our definition refers only to the matter of council tax liability.

For Information on fire safety and environmental health HMO guidance please visit our licensing website.


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