If a property is a HMO, the owner is usually liable for the council tax.

The owner is defined as the person(s) with a freehold or leasehold interest in the whole dwelling or a person who has a freehold interest in any part of the property.

The definition of a HMO varies for different departments within the council. For council tax a HMO is defined as:

  • A property that has been built or adapted to be occupied by more than one person and they do not live as a single household
  • A property lived in by a person or persons and each household have separate tenancies or licenses to live in only part of the property or they pay rent or a license fee for only part of the property

You can find out more information about when a HMO must be licensed and apply on our HMO licensing page.

How we decide whether a property is a HMO

When we’re trying to work out whether a property is a HMO, we consider:

  • How the building has been constructed or adapted
  • Whether the tenants are jointly or individually liable for the rent on the whole property

Normally, if the tenants have separate tenancy agreements, this indicates they are not responsible for the rent on the whole dwelling, so the property is a HMO and the owner is liable and responsible for paying the council tax.