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

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

10:22 AM, 14th January 2020, About A year ago 18

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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

by Bill irvine

16:33 PM, 15th January 2020, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 15/01/2020 - 13:58
Steve is correct in saying liability would revert to the tenants and when it does, it allows them to apply for Council tax reduction (CTR). But nowadays that means they will have to still pick up the shortfall of up to 33% of the debt, in some areas.

Many of the council decisions also involve an element of backdating the liability. Where that happens there is little chance of the CTR covering the period in question, leaving the tenants liable, without the means to pay.

In the case I cited from Doncaster where the HMO status was backdated initially 4 years, leaving a whacking bill to be paid by landlord.

Bill

by Peter G

22:18 PM, 17th January 2020, About A year ago

What extra services are councils providing to justify this extra charge? Nothing. They are doing this because their developer friends who have built large new blocks of flats see HMOs as competitors. Sadly the regulations are so vague that councils can easily vary the interpretation and the extra costs will make HMOs not viable.

by Andrew

9:58 AM, 18th January 2020, About A year ago

I am pleased to update this morning that this case was won by the member of Great Property Meet community. We will update the community shortly with the full facts, analyse this case at our next meeting and I will record a video on this subject on our YouTube channel distilling down the legal facts of the matter.

Massive thank you to Mark Alexander and the Property118 community for your help and support.

by Karen

12:59 PM, 21st January 2020, About A year ago

Hi
I had this issue in 2017 with Aberdeen city council when business rates were reviewed. I had qualified for business rates (and received the small business discount) but the council tried to change me to Band A council tax.
I have 39 rooms over 5 properties - rented room by room, all with shared facilities and changing to Band A council tax per room would have bankrupted me overnight.
I engaged a solicitor and property surveyor who was knowledgable about property assessment.
The outcome was that I had to change to whole house council tax but that was better than individual room tax.
I was able to show that the houses were completely under my control- I provided weekly cleaning of common areas, a gardener, weekly maintenance, a property manager on call 24hrs and my guests had homes elsewhere eg Mon-Fri contractors etc.
I managed to survive that particular attempt on my business but the legal fees were hefty and I suspect rates and council tax reviews will not go away.
This is one of the many reasons I've decided to sell up. I think landlords are stigmatised now and investing in other markets are becoming more attractive. It's a pity because our guests love our properties and I have a great relationship with them.
Good luck Andrew and friend.

by Harlequin Garden

11:00 AM, 5th February 2020, About A year ago

I've just had a demand from the local council for council tax for a property I no longer own for the last year of my ownership - it was banded for council tax 3 years ago and whilst I argued the toss about it, it was going to happen (they threatened to backdate 7 years if I continued) and the charges passed to my tenants with me reducing rent and putting in shared wifi and a few other things to help. I paid any gaps - which were always because a tenant didn't put in the right dates but it was easier than getting the tenant to pay or to start scanning in contracts as the burden of proof is always with the Landlord. I had an issue a few months ago where I was sent a bill for unpaid CT of £450 for one of these 'units' - I contacted the tenant (I still had her details as she had moved from the property and I had sold it 6 months previously to this charge) - she had been contacted by the council and told that she had a credit of £450 for exactly the same period. I sent in various contracts (is this allowable under GPDR?) and eventually it was reduced to £25 even though there had never been a break in tenancy. I have now had a similar issue with the council requesting information for tenants (of course after they have tried to bill me first) for a variety of dates where tenancies changed - I scanned the contracts over to them but because I had referred to them as rooms back came the query 'why' so I told them it was habit as it had always been an HMO and still was in my head - so I've now been send a bill for the year up to the time I sold it for a whole house as 'the landlord is liable for the council tax for the HMO' I've told them that it was banded for council tax as separate units - they initially thought that the one room was an HMO - and after a lot of arguing the officer is insisting that I pay the council tax for the last year for the whole property as one house and when asked what happens to the council tax that the tenants have paid (as billed by the council) she said 'they will be refunded'. I have now emailed the Valuation Office for help on this - whether they will or not I've no idea, but it is the most frustrating circle to be in. I have asked my local councillor for help but he says that as I am not his constituent he won't help - the fact that the property and the tenants are in his constituency seems to have passed him by. He told me to pay the £1000 and move on.

by Peter G

13:21 PM, 5th February 2020, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Harlequin Garden at 05/02/2020 - 11:00The Council's behaviour is puzzling, and if it contradicts the VOA assessment then definitely the VOA should be brought in. In my opinion (this is not advice) until the VOA have confirmed the status of your property and specified which charges are valid no charges should be paid (unless your solicitor advised they should be "paid under protest" to avoid additional fines). Could PossessionFriend or Landlord Action help you?

by Harlequin Garden

10:45 AM, 17th February 2020, About A year ago

The council officer has now very reluctantly agreed to recalculate the bills (so they still want to get me for something) having given them the consecutive tenancy agreements plus an email from the Valuation Officer I dealt with (argued with) with many details plus an email from a Council Tax Officer that I continued the argument with - the Valuation Office have not responded to me sadly. It'll be interesting to see what they try and bill me for now - this is endless.

I am meeting with my local MP re some local issues and I'll bring up the council tax for HMOs - as it's clearly unfair for 6 or more people to live in one property paying one council tax bill but likewise unfair for these same 6 or more to pay a full band. She is minded to take on rebanding council tax so in the unlikely (?) event she hasn't thought of this - whatever a new banding system is for HMOs it's going to be more than the cost of one - she may think on....

by Peter G

23:56 PM, 15th June 2020, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Steve Masters at 15/01/2020 - 13:41
depends if the rent is "inclusive of all bills". Some LL take on the responsibility themselves as it is easier when people are moving in and out frequently.


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