13:35 PM, 2nd July 2012, About 12 years ago 23
We have received an anonymous tip off that could cause yet another HMO outrage and could be a disaster for both landlords and tenant groups if the rumours are indeed true and are implemented.
Allegedly, Torbay Council collated data of all HMOs in their area two weeks ago and are intending to charge Council Tax based on each room being a Band A property (£996.55 a year currently). By way of comparison, a six bed HMO now in Band E would incur a council Tax bill of £1827.01 per annum. The new plans will yield £5,979.30 a year. That’s a whopping 227% increase!
Our informant told us that one of the reasons for doing this is to move the unemployed out of the area. I can’t see how that will work though as the unemployed should qualify for exemption from Council Tax. Is this a way for Torbay Council to increase its share of the public purse I wonder? Another sinister view is this could be a longer term plan to drive out the unemployed when benefits fall under the proposed Universal Credit payment system.
We have recently seen Newham Council in London attempting to relocate its unemployed to Stoke on Trent. Are other councils going to adopt what some might see as social cleansing policies?
On receiving this tip off I spoke to a representative of Devon Landlords Association who had heard nothing of these plans but was very concerned. They will be making their own investigations.
Concerned tenants living in HMOs in Devon are advised to contact Devon SmartMove
Rest assured we will provide more information as this story unfolds. I’m sure it will not be long before the powers that be in Torbay Council will learn of the existence of this article and we very much hope they will provide a definitive response in the comments section below. In the meantime, please let your own feelings be known by leaving a comment below.