Empty Dwelling Management Order from Council head of revenues?

Empty Dwelling Management Order from Council head of revenues?

8:51 AM, 2nd July 2021, About a month ago 9

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My 1 BTL property has been empty since 04/01/21 (my tenant reluctantly had to leave London to look after their elderly parents during the Covid Pandemic and I waivered a 2-month period notice to one month to enable them to do so).

Whilst also being deemed elderly and vulnerable myself (and having to self-isolate) I used this empty period to install a new central heating system (old warm air heating system parts being obsolete). A kitchen cupboard (to fill the void left from the old heating system removal) has been on order, but delayed by manufacturing hold ups (again due to Covid pandemic).

Once I can take delivery my Contractor (depending on his availability) will attend and carry out repair works (central heating pipework to every room in the property) and redecorate before putting it back on the rental market, in pristine order! Also prior to being back on the market I will be required (obviously) to obtain all safety certification: EPC, EIRC, Gas etc. So until all this is carried out I will not be legally able to rent out the property anyway!

I have today (just short of 6 months after being vacated) received a letter from my council asking me to provide a summary of the current status and future plans for MY property.

They ask for reasons for empty property status to update their records to rule out taking enforcement action (during a lockdown pandemic period) for an empty dwelling management order (it was me that informed them that the property was empty as I requested empty property council tax discount).

Their letter is from (can you believe it?) Head of Revenues!

Is this another way for Councils to earn revenue?

I had thought that the empty property register was set up to identify “abandoned” empty properties to lessen homelessness (due to their own failure to provide homes) – not as a way to earn more revenue.

Maybe I am being cynical!

Sivershine



Comments

by terry sullivan

11:03 AM, 2nd July 2021, About a month ago

no--just usual council scam

by homemaker

11:52 AM, 2nd July 2021, About a month ago

I think it is fairly standard practice. Head of Revenue will include Council Tax who will be the first to know when properties are vacated. I think most local authorities routinely send letters of this nature when a property has been empty for 6 months and if unoccupied for longer than 12 months may offer grants to help get the property in use again.

by Simon M

11:56 AM, 2nd July 2021, About a month ago

Don't worry about the Head of Revenues title - all Councils use it as the collective term for the teams that collect Business Rates and Council Tax, the majin source of income other than the central government grant. Council Tax is the prime source of data to identify Empty Homes so it makes sense for the same team to do the "surveys".

However, I can't see why they would do an Empty Homes survey now, as your circumstances illustrate. The council computer system may automatically generate these letters, or it could be a question of competence. Their job is to collect money when legally due - the staff don't have property management experience.

Try ringing the Council first to try to find out what sort of threat this is. Once it's explained reasonably a council manager should grasp your situation. If not, I'm sure they wouldn't want the bad publicity. And you must name the council, other landlords may be in a similar situation.

by Mike

11:57 AM, 2nd July 2021, About a month ago

Yes they no longer give much in a way of concession when a property is being renovated, which can take months , the most I got was 1 months reprieve from paying CT. Greedy bunch of blood sucking leaches is the fitting word for these kind of policy implementers, Imagine what you could have done with that extra money if you did not have to pay CT on an empty property, it could have been used to further improve the dwelling instead of stuffing their own pockets by awarding themselves hefty salaries.

by Ian Narbeth

14:36 PM, 2nd July 2021, About a month ago

It may be that after six months the Council charges a higher rate of Council Tax, in some cases councils charge an additional 100% where a property is empty.

It is also the case that local authorities have duties regarding empty properties. See e.g. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/7827/151111.pdf

You should write and tell the Council about the work you have done, and what works you are planning so that they can know that the property has not been abandoned. Tell them when you expect the work to be finished. Explain that it is not ready for occupation yet but that as soon as the contractor is finished you will be re-letting it.

by Mike T

17:35 PM, 2nd July 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 02/07/2021 - 14:36
Hi, I agree with Ian. Write to them, don't bother phoning as you will never get to speak to the right person. Also you will have no record of your inquiry, plus better to have a written response for you records. There are times when phone calls get a quicker response - But not when it comes to local authorities or when dealing with certain legal matters.

by NEIL T

9:10 AM, 3rd July 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Yes, that was kind of you, Sivershine, to reduce the notice period.
The trouble is with cash strapped local authorities is that they have to look for ways of drawing in more money. My LA who previously gave an empty discount for 6 months has issued this notice.
From 1 April 2021, there is no discount available for properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished. Council tax will be charged at the full rate. If a property remains unoccupied and unfurnished for two years, a premium will be charged as follows:
If the property is still unoccupied and unfurnished after two years, 200% Council Tax will be charged.
If the property is still unoccupied and unfurnished after five years, 300% Council Tax will be charged.
If the property is still unoccupied and unfurnished after ten years, 400% Council Tax will be charged.
I agree that in your case you needed to advise them in order to get the initial empty rate after which you may be able to extend it to uninhabitable - although not having CH would not be a sufficient reason to apply for this.
My point is that we are all heading for the same zero discount from day one so in the case of my council, I just meekly pay the full rate as requested just in case it remains empty for 2-years and beyond...

by Silvershine

10:22 AM, 3rd July 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Thank you all for your responses - I rest assured, albeit still cynical! To correct a minor error (which seems to have been lost in translation somehow) "My 1 BTL property" should read "My 1 B/R property". I have responded, in writing, to my LA (LB of Lewisham). Almost immediately it was posted off, I received a call from my Contractor that the kitchen cupboard has arrived and he would start repair work the following Monday (Sod's Law!).

by LaLo

17:01 PM, 3rd July 2021, About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 02/07/2021 - 11:57
Your are so right Mike . I've disliked councils for years they are a law unto themselves. Our top councillor earns £132000 per year = £2500 per week! I'm sure the rest do quite well too!


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