Council tax information for landlords

If you are the owner or landlord of a property which you rent out, please let us know when you change tenants by completing our Owner/Landlord Online Form


Generally, your tenant will be liable to pay the Council Tax from the date their tenancy agreement starts up to the end of their tenancy agreement.

You will be liable for any period between tenants.

There are a few instances where an owner is liable, even where the property is rented out. These include:

  • houses in multiple occupation

  • care homes

  • houses of religious communities

  • some homes occupied by domestic servants

For more information on these exceptions, please call the Council Tax office on 0330 123 0081.

To minimise your bill, please let us know as soon as a tenancy starts or ends using our Owner/Landlord Online Form.

Empty properties

When a home becomes unoccupied and substantially unfurnished it will attract a discount of 100 per cent (exempt) from Council Tax for up to one calendar month starting from the actual date the last occupier moved out. After one month the full Council Tax charge applies.

This 100 per cent discount is property based and so a change of liable person will not trigger a further discount.

Usually a tenant will move out at the end of their tenancy and the landlord will be entitled to the one month discount from the start of their liability, while they find a new tenant.

However, if the tenant moves out before the end of their tenancy, the discount will start from the date the tenant moved out, not the date the tenancy ends. In this instance your tenant will be entitled to the discount. The discount will not restart when the liability reverts to your name at the end of the tenancy.

If any of the month's discount remains, however, you will be entitled to the remaining period.

For example: if the tenancy ends on 20 September, but your tenant moved out on 10 September, the liability and discount would be split as follows:

Up to 9 SeptemberTenant liable to full charge because they are living at the property
10 September to 19 SeptemberTenant liable, but 100 per cent discounted from Council Tax because the property is unoccupied (zero charge)
20 September to 9 OctoberOwner liable because the tenancy has ended, but discounted for the remainder of the one month calendar discount (zero charge)
10 October onwardsOwner liable, unoccupied charge (full charge)


In this instance, the one month discount runs from 10 September to 9 October, with the liable person changing on 20 September when the tenancy ended. If the tenant had moved out before 20 August, then he or she would have been entitled to the full one month discount, not you.

Clauses within a contract between yourself and your tenant on who should pay the Council Tax will have no bearing on who is legally liable to pay the Council Tax to Guildford Borough Council or who is entitled to the discount. The Council Tax legislation determines this.

Furnished and unoccupied property

If the property is furnished and unoccupied, then no one is entitled to this discount. It is a full charge for the tenant up to the end of the tenancy, then a full charge for the owner from that date onwards. This is often called a 'second home' charge, even if the property is not used as a second home.

Long term empty charge

When the home has been unoccupied and unfurnished for two years, the charge will increase to 150 per cent.

This long term empty premium does not apply to:

  • second homes

  • annexes used as part of the main house

  • properties where the usual occupier is required to live elsewhere by the Ministry of Defence, such as: service personnel posted away from home

In these circumstances a full charge will apply.

If you buy a property which has already been empty for two years, this additional charge will apply to you immediately, even if you are refurbishing the property. Also you will not be entitled to the one month exemption.