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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am eight months into a twelve month tenancy agreement in

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I am eight months into a twelve month tenancy agreement in a house of multiple occupancy. The house houses four individuals - two students and two full time workers. My landlady has just stated that I must pay half of the council tax bill that she has just received as the students are exempt......demanding £427 pounds immediately - for the eight month council tax arrears. Can I refuse to pay - as I understand she is liable as the homeowner?
What does the contract say about who is liable?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The tenancy agreement has a tick list stating that water charges, council tax, gas, electricity, television licence, telephone and broadband are all excluded from the rent. The man from the council stated that the home owner is liable to pay the bill - which I understand - but it just seems unreasonable for the landlady to demand this bill without notice. Additionally the fact that I have no influence on who the tenants are .... And therefore if I was the only full time worker the landlady would be demanding the full council tax from me alone!
Ok. But who was supposed to pay the council tax bill ? Landlord or tenant? Or did you just not negotiate it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It was just mentioned - that the Council tax would get sorted - as the previous tenants were students and therefore exempt. Seems stupid now - but it wasn't negotiated.......
She can't randomly vary the terms. She can only rely on terms that were agreed.Generally speaking, the starting point on HMO is that the landlord is the liable person. The landlord can argue that the tenant should be liable because that is what was agreed but that doesn't seem to be your position here. If she is saying that you are liable because that was what was agreed then she cannot randomly make you fully liable. Students might well be exempt and that is fine but not if the contract binds them to pay.Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you