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RLA Wins Court Battle over Council Tax Payments

The RLA recently won a very important court battle over whether a landlord has to pay council tax if the tenant moves out but the tenancy has not formally ended.

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Leeds City Council Action Leeds City Council took action against a landlord when council tax was not paid for five properties. The houses were empty but the tenancy agreements had not been formally ended by either party. In all cases, the tenancy agreements were contractual periodic tenancies than continued after a fixed term ended.

The council argued that a single tenancy cannot be a fixed term and a periodic tenancy, but the landlord argued that the contract created a fixed term tenancy that lasted six months, which then continued as a monthly tenancy. They said this was in effect the same as a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy agreement.

High Court Rejects Appeal The high court rejected the council’s claim, so Leeds City Council appealed against the judgement, which stated that there was no uncertainty of term and therefore the tenant remained liable for the council tax.

The RLA got involved on the basis that had the appeal succeeded, it would have had far reaching repercussions for landlords and tenancies, not to mention the Housing Act. Fortunately for landlords and the private rental sector, justice prevailed and the appeal by Leeds City Council was thwarted.

“The RLA is very pleased with this decision which upholds the basic principles of tenure,” says David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA.


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