£1000 Council tax black hole!

£1000 Council tax black hole!

9:34 AM, 24th March 2016, About 6 years ago 18

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£1000 council tax bill for my ’empty’ property up for sale for a year, ouch! This really ‘grates’ as one next door on benefits pays nothing and not worked for years! black hole

I assume some of it can be clawed back as an expense but it wouldn’t amount to £1000. I’ve racked my brain trying to find a way out and if I do I will gladly pass it on!



Anne Nixon

12:29 PM, 24th March 2016, About 6 years ago

I feel your pain as I too have council tax bills for 2 properties which are presently on the market - it is infuriating as clearly they are costing the council nothing in services.

For me this is compounded by the electricity supply in the two properties being served by credit meters which 'collect' debt of 25p per day for the standing charge even though no gas or electricity is being used.

Paul Franklin

14:54 PM, 24th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Each area of the county is different. It used to be no Council Tax charged for empty and unfurnished properties but this changed with the Localism Act 2011 I believe. Most areas now charge, some offer a discount if it's empty and unfurnished and others will charge a premium depending on the housing market in that area and what the local politicians (councillors) want to achieve.

It's largely about encouraging empty properties to be brought back into use and stay empty for a short a time as possible - housing crisis and all.

The one next door probably doesn't pay nothing as most areas now offer Council Tax reduction schemes, not CTax benefit as it used to be which generally covered the whole bill (again since Localism). Most of working age will now pay at least some (technically everyone is charged/pays the same it's just some are entitled to welfare benefits that cover some or all of the bill)

John Walker

16:39 PM, 24th March 2016, About 6 years ago

I am being obliged to upgrade ceilings in all my flats, except those on the top floors, as the LA are contending they no longer accept a lath and plaster ceiling as providing half hour fire resistance. I have not come across any BRS or similar organisation having conducted testing to justify this claim. Has anyone else had a similar experience or read of why a long accepted standard has now become unacceptable?

Gary Dully

1:58 AM, 25th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Birkenhead or Wirral council, are charging me 150% of the normal council tax rate for the second year whilst turning a property from derelict to rentable.

So I pay 1.5 times as much as someone using their services and I don't use any. It's pathetic.

I will not be renovating any more in their scumhole backwater county again.

I will invest my funds elsewhere, maybe they can afford to be lavish with my profits for their pathetic housing policies, but frankly I have had enough of them and I'm not alone with that sentiment.

I think I will go commercial portfolio building instead, but then again the Government are not renewing Business Rate Relief and the council are not offering any discounts to businesses from this April, they are even announcing it on their pre-recorded switchboard messages.

It's great to be in the Northern Powerhouse!

Chris Byways

10:00 AM, 25th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Powerhouse? Is that the same as the Northern Poorhouse we hear so much about..........?

But you can afford 1.5 times the rent whilst no rent coming in, you like the rest of us are wealthy cash cows, or geese always laying golden eggs. A bottomless pit of money ready for osbo to rape and pillage.

Where osbo leads, Lewisham and the rest of the council's will follow.

We don't mind paying for non paying tenants, for profligate councils, and HTB to push prices and our enhanced SDLT and enhanced CGT up.

But what happens when they have bankrupted individuals LLs out of existence and they can't even get HMOs for HB or UC recipients?

Where will they be then? And where do they think this money tree will find the money? Tenants! Bless these councils!

Gary Dully

10:35 AM, 25th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Wirral council introduced mandatory / selective licensing for a street that my son rents on earlier this year.

The fee is about £795 and rips out the whole years profit on a new purchase after costs.

They also decided to just inflict the misery on the houses with 'Even' numbers and excluded houses with 'Odd' numbers.

The result is a massive sell off of houses on one side of the street and I would assume some hacked off landlords, who will have seen their profit and funds for repairs etc stolen for no perceivable benefit.

The council said it was because the houses were in a low demand area and they wanted to encourage a higher standard.

We had only just renovated the place inside and had planned to recoup the costs over the next few years.

Then they also hammered us with the council tax surcharge of 50% for bringing back into use, a wreck of a property back into the housing stock.

It's legalized mugging.


11:09 AM, 25th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Dully" at "25/03/2016 - 10:35":

I live on the Wirral too and I've more bad news for you. Seems c/tax is going up at least 4 per cent and fines for licensed properties that don't meet "their" standards are up to £25000!!! My feeling is they get rid of social housing, use the private sector, then slap heavy fines so they can't lose! Plus, according to our local rag, 11 top councilors earn £100,000 p.a.!!! Poor things, how do they survive?

Robert Mellors View Profile

9:29 AM, 26th March 2016, About 6 years ago

I know that properties being renovated will be empty and attract 100% or 150% Council Tax, and I agree with the landlords comments about this being unfair, but not sure why any other property would be stood empty. I don't think there are many "hard to let" areas now, are there? If you have properties in "hard to let" areas, or you are just fed up with letting to tenants, then you could lease your properties to a reputable rent to rent scheme operator (e.g. a housing association, or council, or not for profit company/charity), that way, it is them that would have to pay the Council Tax if the property is vacant.

Gary Dully

2:32 AM, 27th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "26/03/2016 - 09:29":

Hello Robert,

It would be nice if they would let you renovate and then charge, but they want 150% from day 1.

The council decided that it was a hard to let area, God knows why, I had no problems renting there.

I suspect that they simply envy Liverpool, which slipped mandatory licensing for ALL rented property and missed the deadline for doing so themselves.

They can now only do up to 10% per year, without having to get Government approval first.

But it's £795 per property license, in Birkenhead for Gods sake!, it's the wastelands of the last century, everywhere you look.

The place needs total redevelopment, but they are hurting the very people who are bringing homes back into use again.

We need HMO's and Single Occupancy they said 2-3 years ago.

So you buy a property that's been empty for 5 years. (£50k)
It needs a mega refurbishment (£25k)
Surrounding properties selling for £70,000 that don't need work.
They want council tax when it's empty (£1k)

Then they want 50% more, because of a prolonged period unused before you owned it, (£500)
Now they want the surcharge in additional years as well.

Then they decide that it has to be licensed if it has an odd house number (£795), once it's rented.
Then they want you to house LHA or UC tenants with a maximum £103 per week.
How the hell are you supposed to make those figures work on a single tenancy and get your investment back?

( if and when mortgageable again and a dead loss whilst refurbished).

They are either done with cash of expensive bridging.

You have to HMO or the return is useless.

But HMO's are going out of favor as the council is riddled with left wing nutters who pray to Corbyn every Thursday evening and come up with more and more hurdles for anyone trying to improve the situation.

These properties are total wrecks, they will be out of action for months and they want paying 150% for providing nothing in the form of services.

And they wonder why nobody wants to live there!

Chris Byways

8:47 AM, 27th March 2016, About 6 years ago

Wonderful exposé.

Do send that to these do-gooder nutty councillors to show them the errors of their ways, or better, to locals papers so tenants will understand why there is a tenant tax, high rents and empty properties.

And Brandon Lewis.

You could start a revolution!

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