Court Case re HMO rooms being deemed to be Band A Council Tax Dwellings

by Andrew Roberts

10:22 AM, 14th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Court Case re HMO rooms being deemed to be Band A Council Tax Dwellings

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Court Case re HMO rooms being deemed to be Band A Council Tax Dwellings

CAN YOU HELP?

A HMO landlord friend of mine is in court on Friday challenging the VOA ruling on a HMO rooms.

He has:-

  • NO ENSUITE ROOMS
  • NO KITCHENETTES
  • 100% SHARED FACILITIES
  • BASIC ROOM FURNITURE ONLY IN ROOMS

The VOA claim the re-banding increase tax by factor of six is because the rooms are individual dwellings, as doors have locks on them.🤔

Can you offer him any advice to challenge the VOA please be specific referring to statutes and paragraphs of acts as that is what judge is seeking on the day?

Please sign this petition

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT 👌

Some local councils are starting to charge by the room for houses of multiple occupancy (HMO), so the bills for tenants are increasing significantly.

A formal review is required to create an HMO specific rule that is fair and not restrictive. The current rule seems to be to grade each room as band A. This is unrealistic when compared to a house at band A, the room space for a HMO is far less and has far less impact than a whole house.

The impact cost for tenants is unfair and needs a review.

A full review is required before all councils bring in Band A charges to HMO rooms and cause money worries to many people.
please sign to give your support to a full and fair review of HMO council tax charges.



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:52 AM, 14th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Petition signed and shared on several HMO Facebook Groups

Rob Crawford

15:24 PM, 14th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Sorry but this article does not add up. The VOA are fully aware as to what HMO's do or don't qualify for council tax per room or as a whole property. See the HMO section here where it is defined: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understand-how-council-tax-bands-are-assessed It sounds to me that he is propbably talking to the Council as opposed to the VOA. I would suggest he talks to the VOA directly. In my mind there is no need for a court case.

Mark Alexander

16:12 PM, 14th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Straight from the VOA website, as linked to by Rob Crawford ...

Banding of houses in multiple occupation
Domestic properties that have separate dwellings are known as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Each separately let part of a property qualifies as a separate dwelling with its own band. There may be circumstances where the VOA can combine the bands.

Examples
HMOs with little or no adaptation: Where minor adaptations have been added then the VOA can put the whole property into one band. This could be where door locks are added and the occupants of the separately let parts share the kitchen and bathroom of the original house.

HMOs with adaptations to each floor: A single band can be given where each floor of a house let in parts has standard facilities and can be treated as a self-contained unit. This applies where the occupiers of the floor share a kitchen and a bathroom.

HMOs with adapted letting rooms: Separately let rooms in a HMO may have been adapted, for example, so that they have their own kitchenette or separate shower/bath and WC. They will be given their own band even though may share some facilities. In making a decision, the VOA will look at the degree to which each part has been structurally altered.

Purpose built HMOs: These properties would generally not be combined and would have separate assessments for each internal unit.

Chris Daniel

9:29 AM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Andrew, I have represented Landlords at VOA Tribunals if your friend wants to contact me ( with the site's permission - PossessionFriend.uk )

Bill irvine

10:38 AM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Hi Andrew
As Rob suggests this is more likely a VOA issue, so any appeal should fall within its jurisdiction.
I've dealt with a number of such cases over the past 4/5 years. They are usually prompted by the landlord (or new landlord) of, what was previously classified as an HMO, making adaptions to the property. These might include, for example, incorporating cooking facilities, shower units etc. therefore reducing the need for residents to use shared facilities but still not enough to create what you and I might consider "self-contained" units.
In the few cases I've handled, all were appealed to the VOA and were either quickly conceded by the Council or conceded just prior (day before) the VOA hearing was due to take place.
I would recommend your friend seeking advice from the likes of Chris who seemingly has some related experience.
Although I'm an ex Head of Revenues and familiar with the VOA process I only take on cases for exisiting clients. One of my recent cases might be of interest to Property 118 members https://universalcreditadvice.com/articles/valuation-tribunal-doncaster-mbc-vs-resida-property-services-council-tax-liability-2-2/

Richard Peeters

11:07 AM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 14/01/2020 - 16:12
This is (yet another) worry! We have HMOs matching two of the above examples:
1. "HMOs with little or no adaptation"- some with no adaptation other than door locks (of course as HMOs they would have fire doors, smoke alarms etc) >> VOA should not be able to subdivide te property.
2. "HMOs with adapted letting rooms" - where we have added an ensuite (shower, WC and wash basin) within a bedroom of an otherwise non-adapted house >> VOA might potentially consider this as a separate rateable unit, even though there is only a shared kitchen in the property.

If the Govt's aim is to dissuade private landlords, they are doing a great job!

Mark Alexander

11:45 AM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Peeters at 15/01/2020 - 11:07
One of the key issues is whether the tenants each have a separate AST or whether they are all on one AST.

Mike

12:50 PM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Are they not attacking the tenants, ultimately the additional cost will have to come out of tenants rents! Money certainly does not grow on trees. About time thick heads operating in some councils realise this. Tenants need to be made aware of why rents have shot through the roof, blame the Governments and Local Authorities and not the landlords.

Steve Masters

13:41 PM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

If an individual dwelling within an HMO is separately banded for Council Tax, wouldn't the resulting Council Tax bill go directly to the tenant and not the landlord? Just like a flat, the bill goes to the resident not the owner.

Mark Alexander

13:58 PM, 15th January 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Steve Masters at 15/01/2020 - 13:41
Yes it would, but that doesn’t help much if the deal is “all bills included”. It’s not fair on the tenants either in my opinion.

Also, the landlord will have to pay the CT during void periods, possible at 150% of the standard CT rate.

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