HMO landlords urged to back anti-council tax rebanding campaign

HMO landlords urged to back anti-council tax rebanding campaign

14:58 PM, 17th November 2022, About 2 years ago 2

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Professional HMO landlord network, Platinum Property Partners (PPP), is urging all landlords to get behind a campaign that aims to abolish council tax re-banding for shared houses, which has the backing of Gosport MP, Caroline Dineage (pictured right).

For some time, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has had discretional powers to charge council tax per room as opposed to per property, making bills around four times more expensive for many landlords – an additional cost that is often reflected in rent rises for tenants.

Following consistent campaigning by the HMO landlord community, including PPP, Wendy Whittaker-Large and Darren Brewer (The HMO Council Tax Reform Group), an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has been tabled by Dineage in a bid to reverse such measures and ensure HMOs are consistently classed as a single household for council tax purposes.

In an exclusive comment provided to PPP, Caroline Dineage said: “‘The Valuation Office Agency has been applying council tax to bedrooms that are not self-contained spaces. This ultimately makes each bedroom a separate dwelling, resulting in the tenant being liable for council tax on a bedroom.

“This disproportionately affects young, hardworking individuals who are now required to pay council tax on a property which doesn’t fit the criteria.

“My amendment seeks to change the definition of a dwelling to include self-containment, so that we can prevent the imposition of Council Tax individually on tenants of a room in a house with shared facilities.”

Her motivation comes from the fact that in her Gosport constituency, where executive HMO developments are ‘breathing new life’ into the town centre, council tax re-banding will be an additional blow for renters and cause financial uncertainty as a time when prices are rising.

Over 200 PPP landlords are already in the process of penning requests for support and a common sense approach from their own local MPs, and now the landlord network is asking other landlords to get on board for maximum impact.

Emma Hayes, Managing Director of PPP, said: “The time has come again for HMO landlords to stand together and strive for positive change in the private rented sector.

“Although HMOs have been at risk of council tax re-banding since the early 1990s, the actual occurrence has remained low, until now. With increasing requests from councils to re-band properties, it’s crucial we get the measures reversed so that landlords can continue to provide high quality affordable accommodation to their housemates.

“To put the impact into context, one particular HMO in the PPP network that was classed as a single dwelling in Band D had a monthly council tax bill of £1,223.77 in 2017/18. Following a re-band to six individual units in Band A, the monthly bill rose by 200% to £3,671.29, including a 25% single occupancy discount.

“It’s a significant difference and prevents landlords from being able to provide tenants with an affordable rental bill that is often inclusive of bills. The administration is also an added management strain on landlords, who have to notify the council every time a tenant changes, and we are hearing reports that councils continue to chase old tenants for payment, even when the landlords are often authorised at third party payers.

“If individual rooms are suddenly billed as a separate units for council tax purposes, tenants will undoubtedly see their rents increased or no longer benefit from the level of financial certainty of having one all-inclusive monthly housing cost.”

Act fast – what can landlords do?

HMO landlords are being urged to take the following action by the end of November.

  • Find your MP and contact information using the location of your HMO here
  • Download and personalise the template here
  • You may also want to include a copy of the HMO Council Tax Briefing Paper
  • Email and write to your MP and request their support

When writing, please use the following address:

<Your MP>

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

For more information click on my profile at the top and drop me a personal message.


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Comments

Buddie

16:38 PM, 28th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Having fallen foul of this situation I have sent a letter to Ipswich MP Tom Hunt as a renovation by my company to a 7 Bed HMO was treated by VOA as separate flats as we had made too good a job by adding en suite showers/toilets to each room, big mistake! with the idea of improving the accommodation to reach a better clientele. Clearly property improvements are not for the benefit of tenants only for Government Tax revenue!

Tony Clements

14:44 PM, 10th December 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Buddie at 28/11/2022 - 16:38
We have 5 out of 7 with en suite. They still share a kitchen so not self contained.

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