If Students don’t provide proof I’ll have to pay Council Tax?

If Students don’t provide proof I’ll have to pay Council Tax?

9:06 AM, 6th August 2019, About 2 years ago 24

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I’ve just received a Reminder Notice from Newcastle City Council for the Council Tax (CT) on my student HMO. This is despite me completing the online change of tenancy notice over two months ago.

I called the Council and the gentleman I spoke to (after 32 minutes on hold) was very polite, saying that they need the students to provide proof that they were indeed students. Then he dropped the bombshell that as the property is a licensed HMO, the liability is with the owner.

In other words, if the students don’t provide proof of their education status, then I’ll have to pay the full CT. Providing proof of the tenants’ status is not within my control, so this seems a ludicrous rule. I’m hoping that if this situation comes up they can cross-reference against the Council’s list of students, but if not then I have a significant exposure.

There’s a clause in the contract that says the students are responsible for CT so I guess there’s recourse there, but that could get messy.

Anyone else had a similar experience?



by Steve Hards

15:05 PM, 12th August 2019, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert at 10/08/2019 - 14:23
@ Robert M - sorry I missed the 'reply' button first time 🙂
"the standard council trick of ending the student exemption as soon as the student's course ends. Not correct."
This is what Southwark does - please could you elaborate on why it is not correct and how the (now ex) students can appeal against it? Thanks

by Alex McGuinness

10:11 AM, 27th February 2020, About A year ago

If I can't get the last certificate I need I will be attempting to use the guidelines of GDPR to get the university to release it to me.
This is because I already possess all of the data relating to the student that they are prevented from sharing with me without the student's consent. I'll send them my data protection policy as is required, and request they send me theirs so we can each be sure that we are responsible data controllers demonstrating due care and precaution over retention and sharing of data, as per guidelines.
If I can then show that I hold the name, contact details, course of study details, signed AST and incoming bank payments, emails and texts acknowledging their uni attendance and course dates, recounts of conversations I had with the tenant during the academic year, and statements from housemates confirming that they traveled to and discussed uni with this tenant, then reasonably there is no data the university has reason to withhold from me.
If this doesn't work then the next step will be to repeat this process with the council - hopefully with this overwhelming amount of data it should be reasonable to prove the student's status.

by Alex McGuinness

10:14 AM, 27th February 2020, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Mr B2L at 06/08/2019 - 12:15
Hi Mr B2L, after providing an AST etc what is the next rebuttal when the council insists on a tax certificate?

by Nick Faulkner

14:24 PM, 27th February 2020, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Alex McGuinness at 27/02/2020 - 10:14I am not quite sure what you are making a fuss about. Having been a student landlord for over 35 years i am well used to this situation. HMO landlords are liable for the CT on their houses. However this can be mitigated if the tenant can prove he is a student. As evidence of this his college should provide an "Exemption Certificate" Locally one university notifies the City Council of their students and the process is done automatically. Should,however ,one of the" students" not be registered the council will come after us for the Council Tax. In our tenancy agreements we make it quite clear we pay all bills except CT. Actually our liability to pay the CT does not change but we make it clear that if there is no Exemption Certificate we will expect the tenant to pay us and we will pay the Council. The other university issues their students with these certificates which they should hand to us or our agents. Obviously we get several every year saying they have not received them or have lost them. We find that when they ,the individual student, is presented with the CT bill for the whole house he /she suddenly "finds" the certificate. These certificates are an essential part of the process and have been for several years as has the requirement of landlords to be responsible for CT payments for HMOs. If this simple process is too difficult for a landlord to understand he is probably in the wrong job and should leave the business those who do understand the requirements of the law.

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