Call for council tax relief on empty landlord properties

by Property 118

11:38 AM, 24th April 2020
About 2 months ago

Call for council tax relief on empty landlord properties

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Call for council tax relief on empty landlord properties

The NRLA are calling on Ministers to instruct local authorities that they should not charge council tax on rented homes left empty because of the coronavirus.

A significant number of rented homes have been left empty because tenants have been unable to take up tenancies, or have chosen to move out to be closer to family during the lockdown. During this period landlords will become liable for the council tax on the property and have no realistic prospect of finding new tenants.

The National Residential Landlords Association is asking the Government to tell councils that they should exempt houses have been left empty as a result of the virus from council tax demands.

A recent survey by the NRLA found that 41% of landlords are concerned about having to cover the unexpected costs of utility bills and council tax.

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the NRLA, said: “It is manifestly unfair for landlords to be asked to pay council tax on properties which are empty, and likely to remain so, because of the impact of the pandemic. Whilst we remain supportive of the measures taken so far by the Government, landlords are being asked to absorb more costs at a time when they are least able.

“Unlike most small businesses and the self-employed, there has been no direct support package announced for landlords. Removing this unnecessary burden would at least help those landlords who are struggling to cope with drastically reduced income.”



Comments

Luke P

10:47 AM, 6th June 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 21/05/2020 - 20:33
Slightly different response locally...

"We are unable to award a Class G exemption in these circumstances.

Class G exemption is where it is prohibited to live in a specific property, which would have a Prohibition Notice on it where the law deems it must be unoccupied.

The property would be subject to an order where it is unfit for human habitation or closed at the request of the police/fire, or that action has been taken to acquire the particular property using an Act of Parliament."

WP

14:58 PM, 14th June 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Is it still the situation that there is a blanket refusal by Councils to give exemptions?
Has there been a definitive Government update on this does anyone know since this was initially posted?
Not heard back from my Council yet after asking, so chased for a response today. I am holding out paying the bill still until I know the latest position.

Clint

18:41 PM, 14th June 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Sorry to say the answer appears to be nothing else but a blanket refusal. It is up to "our union" NRLA to fight it rather than just keep silent.

Gary Nock

18:59 PM, 14th June 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Unless Govt makes guidance then we have little chance of an exemption folks.

Paul Shears

19:12 PM, 14th June 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 14/06/2020 - 18:59
I am quite certain that, that is the bottom line.
Now how best to argue that case collectively?

Clint

21:51 PM, 14th June 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul Shears at 14/06/2020 - 19:12
Yes, I agree it all has to be collective but how do we get "collectivity"

Luke P

22:02 PM, 14th June 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 14/06/2020 - 14:58
Because the only mileage in fighting this extends, at best, to the strongest part of the lockdown, nobody is likely to push it very hard and LAs probably know that.

Christine Howe

17:57 PM, 27th June 2020
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 14/06/2020 - 18:59
I must be very lucky then as yesterday I received the following email:-

'Thank you for your enquiry. Central Government instructions during the Coronavirus Lockdown have resulted in substantial restrictions imposed on personal movement and therefore prevented changes in occupancy of many properties. In view of this situation Derby City Council is now allowing an exemption from Council Tax on some empty properties. This exemption is allowable on application from Council Taxpayers in respect of a particular empty property where it is established that access, occupancy or sale in respect of that property has been prevented because of national restrictions during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The exemption (Class G – Property prohibited from occupancy) is allowable during the period 23 March 2020, the start of the Coronavirus Lockdown, up to 30 June 2020. As the restrictions are now being lifted a majority of empty properties should be available for access, occupancy by let or sale by that date.

I have allowed an exemption on your properties at................... for the period 23 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 and revised bills will be sent to you shortly.

Under Council Tax rules on empty properties I have to re-apply the Empty Property Charge from 30 June 2020 and I have rescheduled your remaining monthly instalments from 1 August 2020 to 1 March 2020.

Please provide details of new tenants when you re-let the properties.'

I would therefore like to thank Gary very much for his invaluable advice on this matter. I (and no doubt many others) was completely unaware of Exemption G but, when I read Gary's lengthy post containing the definition thereof, I decided that it was worth a try. On May 1st I copied the majority of Gary's post into the 'Council Tax change of circumstances form' that was required by the council. The council acknowledged this and stated that the case would be processed within 21 days but that I should continue to pay as previously billed in the meantime. I received a reply on May 18th stating the following:-

'I would like to advise you that the Covid 19 pandemic has generated some questions to our current processes and these are currently being looked into .

In your case for the above accounts, I have placed both accounts on hold whilst this matter is being looked into and will advise you in due course.'

Then yesterday I received the amazing news of their decision in my favour. I was completely shocked but obviously very pleased at this unexpected outcome.

I am still awaiting a decision from a different council regarding a 3rd empty property and at least I now have some ammunition to use if they decide to refuse my request.

I hope this will give all of you some hope that, if one council can apply Exemption G appropriately, then all councils should follow that example.

Gary Nock

18:58 PM, 27th June 2020
About 5 days ago

Christine glad I could help 🙂

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