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Liability rules for Landlords

The Liable Person

There are over 240,000 domestic properties in Sheffield and each one has a Council Tax charge. We identify the person or persons responsible to pay Council Tax for each property. This person is known as the liable person.

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 remember that in these cases, each person, named on the bill, is responsible for paying the full amount due and 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.  Please see Not Paying on Time for more information.


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. 

  • Someone who lives in the property and has a freehold interest,
  • Someone who lives in the property and has a leasehold interest,
  • Someone who lives in a property and is a statutory or secure tenant,
  • Someone who lives in a property and has a licence to live in the property,
  • Any other person who lives in the property,
  • The owner (where no-one lives in the property).


If you disagree with this decision you must make your appeal.  Alternatively, you can e-mail 


The Owners Liability

In some situations the owner rather than the tenants of a property is always liable for Council Tax.  This includes owners of:

  • Care Homes
  • Properties occupied by religious communities
  • Properties occupied by staff in domestic service
  • Properties occupied by serving Ministers of Religion
  • Properties used to house Asylum Seekers.

More commonly, are those properties that are classed as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)


There are a number of different definitions of what is a HMO is for different purposes, such as for Environmental Health or Housing issues, as well as Council Tax.

The definition below applies to Council Tax only.

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


The decision of whether a property has been adapted or purpose built for several households is a relatively straightforward.  It can usually be made following a visit by one of our Inspection Officers.

This can be arranged by telephoning (0114) 273 6823 or alternatively via e-mail to

For most properties falling under Council Tax HMO it is the rental arrangements that determines whether the owner or landlord or tenants are liable for Council Tax.

As a general rule a property will be classed as a HMO with the owner liable, where each tenant has his or her own tenancy agreement and only pays rent for part of the property.

The tenants will be liable where there is only one tenancy agreement, with all the tenants names included for the whole of the property, and all of the rent due.

Sometimes this decision can only be made once all relevant information is obtained from owners, agents or tenants, and there may be occasions when you are asked to provide this information.

You can help us make a quick decision by supplying this information as soon as possible after it has been requested.


  • Modified: Mar 12, 2014 3:21:14 PM