Landlords are not responsible for paying council tax on a property after a tenant has moved out – but before a tenancy has ended, the Appeals Court has ruled.

Leeds City Council brought the appeal by demanding council tax should be paid by a landlord on five properties when they were vacant, but when the tenancies were not formally terminated.

The ‘contractual periodic tenancies’ came after fixed terms, but the council argued that a single tenancy cannot be both fixed term and periodic.

The landlord claimed that the contract was a single tenancy with a six month term that continued afterwards as a monthly tenancy.

This would have the same effect as a fixed-term assured short-hold tenancy, the landlord argued.

Leeds council appealed against a High Court ruling which rejected its claim and said there was no uncertainty of term and that the council tax liability remained with the tenant and not the landlord.

The move was welcomed by the Residential Landlords Association, which acted in the case on behalf of landlords.

Policy director David Smith said: “The RLA is very pleased with this decision which upholds the basic principles of tenure.”