Information for landlords about council tax and benefits

If you are a landlord, and you have properties within the Bolton area you can use the information below to find out about council tax and housing benefits for the properties you own or manage.

Click below for further information...

  • View your account online

    • Council tax - You can see how your council tax bill has been calculated and your outstanding balance. You will be able to check when your payments are due, set up a direct debit and register for e billing and print your council tax bill. You can also tell us if a tenant moves in or out of the property.

      Housing benefit - If you receive housing benefit payments direct, you can check when payments were made and how much they were for. You can also view details of overpayments and copies of letters we have sent to you

      The website is available 24 hours a day and it is updated regularly, so you can see up to date information and check the progress of changes you have told us about. You will need to register but you will only need to do this once.

      View your account online

       

  • Tell us about a change of address

    • To make sure you and your tenants receive the correct council tax bill, tell us about tenancy changes as soon as possible.

      These forms can be used to register a change of address for council tax purposes only. You should notify other council services separately.

      Report a tenant moving in Report a tenant moving out

  • Empty property charges

    • Unoccupied and unfurnished properties

      From 1st April 2016 there will be no discount on these properties. For more information see council tax charges.

      If you think you may be entitled to a reduction on a property that was unoccupied and unfurnished for a period prior to 1st April 2016 see discount and exemptions.

      » After 2 years - when the property has been unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for 2 years then a 50% premium will be payable on top of the full charge. This will mean that a 150% charge will be payable.

      You can find more information and advice on how to bring your empty property back into use on the empty residential properties page.

      What does substantially unfurnished mean?
      There is no definition of 'substantially unfurnished' within council tax legislation therefore each council has its own criteria regarding what is acceptable.

      Bolton Council have taken it to mean sufficient furniture has been removed to leave the property incapable of occupation. As a minimum we would expect the following to be removed:

      » beds
      » chairs
      » sofas
      » tables
      » wardrobes
      » cabinets
      » televisions
      » stereos
      » all personal effects

      We do not class curtains, carpets, fitted white goods (fridges, freezers, and washing machines) or fitted wardrobes as furniture

    • Unoccupied furnished properties

      There is no discount on these properties. This means that a full (100%) charge will be payable. View more on discounts and exemptions.

      You can find more information and advice on how to bring your empty property back into use on the empty residential properties page.

      What does substantially furnished mean?
      There is no definition of 'substantially furnished' within council tax legislation therefore each council has its own criteria regarding what is acceptable.

      Bolton Council have taken it to mean there is sufficient furniture in the property for occupation. We would expect the property to have:

      » beds
      » chair/sofa
      » cooker
      » microwave
      » fridge freezer

  • Who is responsible for council tax

    • Bolton Council will need information about any tenants in your rented property so that we can decide who is liable for the council tax. We need to know about

      » any changes in tenants
      » unoccupied periods, and
      » details of your tenant’s tenancy agreements

      We need to know about your tenancy arrangements including whether they are on fixed-term tenancies or periodic (‘rolling’) tenancies as this will help us determine who is liable to pay council tax.

    • When is the landlord responsible for council tax on an occupied property

      You are liable for council tax in the following circumstances:

      » Properties occupied by asylum seekers
      » Properties where all the tenants are under the age of 18
      » Homes in multiple occupation (HMO) i.e. where the residents are liable to pay rent for separate parts of the property e.g. bedsits. Find out more information on homes in multiple occupation.

      If your property is classed as HMO your tenants cannot claim Council Tax Support to pay the council tax. However you may be able to claim a discount or exemption.

       

    • When is the tenant responsible for council tax

      The tenant is responsible for the council tax when the whole of the property is rented to one person, joint tenants or family.

      » Where there are two or more tenants living together on a joint tenancy they will be jointly and severally liable for council tax and the bill will be sent to the tenants.

      » When the tenancy comes to an end, the liability for council tax will revert to the landlord until a new tenant is found.

  • Housing benefit information for landlords

    • Housing benefit is not rent. It is a means-tested benefit and we award it to help pay the rent. The amount of housing benefit awarded depends on the circumstances of your tenant.

    • Who is housing benefit paid to

      Housing benefit is usually paid to the tenant and it is their responsibility to pay rent to their landlord. Payments are normally made every four weeks, in arrears via BACS.

      We can make payments of housing benefit to you in the following circumstances:

      » The tenant is in arrears with their rent of 8 weeks or more. You or your tenant will need to provide proof of the arrears or

      » The tenant can apply for direct payments of housing benefit to you if they have special circumstances. This may be where the tenant is unable to pay their rent because they are vulnerable or the tenant is considered unlikely to pay their rent.

    • What we can tell a landlord about their tenant's housing benefit

      Housing benefit claims are confidential and we only discuss the claim with the person making it, unless they have given us written permission to discuss it with you.

      However the information we can discuss with you is still limited to the following:

      » If a claim for housing benefit has been made
      » If we have made a decision on the claim
      » When the next payment of housing benefit is due
      » If your tenant needs to provide us with further information we will only tell you general details e.g. income details needed.

      We will not provide information to you about your tenant’s personal or financial circumstances.

      If we have made a payment to you we can discuss the following information:

      » The amount of housing benefit paid
      » The dates the payment relates to

    • Overpayments of housing benefit

      If a tenant is overpaid housing benefit and payments have been made to you, we may ask you to pay the money back.

      If this happens, you will receive an invoice and a letter giving you details of the overpayment and the various ways you can pay this back to the council.

      Repay an overpayment

    • Make a housing benefit enquiry

      If you have an enquiry about housing benefit, you can submit your enquiry to us and we will respond to you within 14 working days.

      On completion of your form you will be sent a receipt to the email address you have provided.

      Landlord enquiry

    • Universal Credit

      If your tenant is in receipt of Universal Credit, they cannot claim housing benefit. However, they can get help to pay their rent within their Universal Credit award which is paid direct to them. This is not paid to your tenant by Bolton Council.

      More information about Universal Credit can be found at: www.gov.uk/universal-credit

    • Changes you need to tell us about

      If we pay housing benefit direct, you have a legal duty to tell us about changes that may affect your tenant's housing benefit or how we pay you.

      Examples of changes you should tell us about:

      » If your tenant moves out
      » If your tenant moves rooms or flats within a building
      » If there is a change in rent charged
      » If someone else moves in

      You can also change your bank details and how we pay you. If you change your details for one tenant, they will be changed for all your tenants.

      Change my payment details

  • Appeals and disputes

    • You have the right to appeal against some decisions the council makes about council tax or your tenant's housing benefit. You can find out more information below.

    • Council tax

      If you do not agree with the decision about your liability, you need to write to us explaining why you are not happy with the decision.

      We will look at the decision again and write to you within 14 days of receiving your request.

      If you are still not happy with the decision you can use this link to appeal to a Valuation Tribunal

    • Benefits

      If you don't agree with a housing benefit decision, you can only appeal in the following circumstances;

      » Housing benefit payments have been made to you;
      » We decide to recover an overpayment of housing benefit from you

      If you do not agree with a decision we have made about a payment or an overpayment, you need to write to us within one calendar month of us informing you of our decision.

       

              Bolton Council

              Town Hall

              Victoria Square

              Bolton

              BL1 1RU

              Telephone 01204 333333
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