Liverpool wants landlords to pay Council Tax for student tenants!

by Larry Sweeney

14:30 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Liverpool wants landlords to pay Council Tax for student tenants!

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Liverpool wants landlords to pay Council Tax for student tenants!

Readers of This forum will be aware of the efforts of both myself and Property 118 to expose the shortcomings of various Local authorities, and how Landlords are affected as a result of the actions of tax payer funded public servants.council tax

The latest revenue raising scheme floated by Liverpool is astounding. The council want Landlords to pay Council tax on behalf of students. In the Liverpool Echo Councillor Nick Small is quoted as saying “Landlords renting to students dodge both Council tax and Business rates. Firstly landlords are not dodging any tax. The legislation grants students exemption. Furthermore Landlords do not pay council tax on behalf of other tenants. Secondly residential properties are banded under CT legislation and not Business rates.

A student union has immediately condemned this folly, as they clearly can see the “wood from the trees” and are aware that Students will be hammered with rising rents. When will the onslaught on the PRS end.

To those landlords who think that by being nice to the Local authority ,saying “yes sir” thank you for the landlord licence and the council is fantastic doing such a great job culling rogue landlords, I say wake up.
When any Local authority lies to introduce a scheme to fleece taxpayers, then ploughs on removing even the one month CT exemption for empty properties and now wants to impose the Council tax on landlords ,that Authority has lost all credibility.

The scheme would require major changes in Primary legislation and a redrafting on CT regs 1992.
Will residential properties be banded under Business rates legislation ?. If that is to be the case then Commercial tenancies would be exempt from their other scam ,ie the Selective Licence nonsense.

Without a doubt Students will face higher rents , unless the council wish to cap rents. This is an idea favoured by Corbyn and Co. What the Socialists cannot grasp however is that Price controls in any sector always lead to shortages. Look at Venezuela. Here in the UK, Before the market was deregulated by Mrs Thatcher, and I am not getting in to politics, simply stating the facts, there were shortages. In Sweden where rents controls are in force, There is little mobility as accommodation is scarce. Where does this constant interfering with the market stop.

It is incumbent upon every landlord now to hold their Local authority to account.

As I have previously made clear here, we cannot nor should we break the law. Landlords register your Liverpool properties especially those who have not done so yet, But Stop at that Point. Let us ensure that Liverpool redraft the entire scheme to ensure full compliance with the law.

Should this authority proceed to attempt to extort Council tax from Landlords, Perhaps we should join with our tenants and go on “council tax strike”. I will happily expand on this point at a later date.

In the meantime , I believe every landlord should now explain in detail the Regulations pertaining to Council tax and In particular the consequences for tenants of not paying council tax. Allow me to summarise.

1/ A liability order is not a CCJ, and does not affect credit scores.
2/An enforcement agent (Previously bailiff) cannot force entry and most goods are in fact exempt.
3/ A charging order cannot be used against a tenant.
4/ The threshold for Bankruptcy is now £5000 so a tenant owing £4000 cannot be made bankrupt.
5/ An attachment of benefits only applies to those actually on benefits.
6/ The Council could apply for an attachment of earnings, but if a tenant were to find himself self employed , this remedy would not apply.
7/ Lastly there have been a few examples of Councils applying to the court to imprison non payers for 90 days.

This is not common because of the Political ramifications, and for this to happen one would firstly have to be arrested by the enforcement agent and transported to court. The magistrates must then allow the defaulter the opportunity to make a payment taking in to account his statement of means. In summary few will ever be committed. It is our duty to make our tenants aware of the legislation as good landlords.

It is then the tenants choice having been made aware of the possible sanctions, if he or she decides that Council tax is excellent value for money. Unfortunately I believe many tenants may conclude that the Local authority and their demand, no longer are such a high priority. As responsible landlords, it is our duty to give tenants as much information about their Council as possible.

Bin collection dates, EPC Information, Emergency contact numbers and the dire consequences of failing to pay Council tax.

Let us show that these unwarranted attacks on the PRS, may start becoming very expensive.



Comments

Paul A Brady

16:53 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Good old Liverpool City Council!!

FOA request - how much tax payers' money did Liverpool spend sending people off to study tram systems around the world before deciding not to go ahead with them in our wonderful City after all?

As Billy Connolly once said ( paraphrased) it is very difficult to be a comedian when politicians continually come up with the best jokes.... And this really is one - well it would be if they weren't serious. I wonder if they have thought through the consequences - probably not, they'll be too busy thinking of the cash tills ringing.

So, if I read correctly: if I am self employed or have irregular employment and don't own a property, I may as well not pay council tax, because short of locking me up - plenty of spare prison places are there? - there is not much the council can do about it?

I know, let's just nobble the rich, top hatted, cane carrying landlords. If a tenant doesn't pay council tax let's get it from the landlord anyway.............because, we all know that all the evils of society emanate from the actions of private landlords and their avaricious ways. What a brilliant idea - with all the extra cash we can send councillors off to investigate the benefits of air conditioning units in the Caribbean.

Paul A Brady

17:16 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Of course, I meant FOI request................

Old Mrs Landlord

17:25 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

If Liverpool landlords have been getting one month's exemption from council tax on empty properties they should count themselves lucky. Where our properties are we don't get one day, never mind one month!.

17:37 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul A Brady" at "22/09/2016 - 16:53":

The Council Tax (administration and enforcement) regs 1992 (as amended) govern what enforcement action the local authority are able to take and you are correct that for self employment they cannot action an attachment of earnings order (they could if you worked for your 'own' limited company) so it's either a payment arrangement, enforcement agents, bankruptcy or ultimately a committal application.

Craig

Larry Sweeney

19:06 PM, 22nd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Thanks Craig.
The bottom line is that when we explain the legislation to tenants I fear they may not bother paying CT .Many foreign tenants will take the view that because they dont own Property they need not worry.Bottom line Councils cannot push us any further.We will now explain council tax payment options and the law to tenants and unfortunately I fear tenants will bin the Council tax safe the the knowledge that there is in reality nothing the useless Councils can do. What a pity councils alienate landlords This policy could prove costly for the tax payer funded zealots.

Nick Faulkner

9:46 AM, 23rd September 2016
About 2 years ago

We have been student landlords in Norwich for about 40 years. When Council Tax with exemptions for students came in life was quite straightforward.... we registered the houses as student and provided we supplied the council with exemption certificates all was good.
However about four years ago Norwich City Council decided to charge for all void periods....and issued demands for the whole year regardless of the fact students were in residence. This has resulted in long tedious negotiations over when the previous student left and when the following student's course starts. Generally speaking this argument results in us paying about £250 per house for July/August.
If the council would accept ,once more, that they are student houses I would willing pay more ...say £400...just to avoid the nausea of this tiresome haggle. This would save their time as well as ours but it might well mean they do not need as many staff and that would not suit them.
I guess life would be simpler if CT was charged on student houses.....but the tenants would end up paying. It would also put us at a disadvantage because the rents would then be about the same as expensive college run accommodation (which pays no CT).

10:48 AM, 23rd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Larry Sweeney" at "22/09/2016 - 19:06":

Got to say that, after a decade working in council tax recovery, that in my experience you get two main types of council tax evaders - those who just can't be bothered to pay and those who actively avoid everything. The third type, the genuinely trying to pay lot were easier to deal with.

I used to do a lot of the tracing work to track down tax evaders and coing up with a foreign address was quite common - people coming to the area for a year or two and the moving abroad again without paying (often with another local authority also looking for them). Students weren't too bad as if you they fit the profile of a student but hadnt given you the information you could usually check the lists of students from the local university and find their detaisl retrospectively - apply the exemption and that problem was sorted.

There were also two main types of landlords - those who were happy to work together with the concil and the tenants to make everything easier and those who didn't give a toss. It's always best not to alienate the former.

Craig

10:59 AM, 23rd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nick Faulkner" at "23/09/2016 - 09:46":

Commercially it does make sense for private landlords if council tax is not due on a property - especially if the landlord has to re-coup it from the rent.

I'd support removal of the Class N exemption (and the K and M exemptions) and replacement with a discount instead - I can't see how, where the Council Tax rebates are being reduced for these types of properties - how the local authoirty can continue to provide the services without some recompense.

For Class M exemptions - halls of residence - I've always believed that they should pay a servive charge in the same way that exempt MOD properties pay CILOCT (charge in lieu of council tax) is respect of the services being provided by the local authority.

With regards to VOID periods the council tax legislation is often the problem - if the previous tenancy ends and the local authority aren't aware of the new occupants then the demand notice has to cover the period to the end of the tax year. It did cause problems knowing that the information would follow (at some point) but there was not choice but to bill - even holding off on billing for a month to allow the information to be provided didn't work with many landlords.

Craig

Larry Sweeney

12:57 PM, 23rd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Craig,
You obviously have knowledge of the Regs with your experience in Recovery.
In this instance the Council through removing exemptions and Lying to introduce Selective Licensing across the entire City, have alienated just about every Landlord. Their cavalier attitude towards the Golden Goose that is Landlords is amply demonstrated by the very threat of charging landlords CT for students, while at the same time Having a co regulation deal on Licensing with The RLA. We both know that since the TCE with vunerable classes, restrictions on taking control and simply not escalating to removal as household goods in flats would not begin to cover debts that Enforcement has no deterrent now , when debtors are determined not to pay.
The point of my article is simply to demonstrate that it is pointless even trying to work with a local authority which has the audacity to class the entire city of Liverpool an area of low demand. To this end Landlords should make tenants aware of exactly what Councils can do in reality to recover CT from many tenants in flats. The position then is that having weighed up the enforcement process, Many tenants will decide not to bother paying CT as they are not Home owners. When tenants become aware of the law with respect to sanctions for non payment, I fear they will realise that the sanctions are nothing to worry about and the Council will be left with many defaulters. As responsible landlords we should outline the entire CT legislation to tenants ,as part of the excellent service we provide as Licenced landlords.
I would have zero sympathy were this to happen. Not only have landlords been alienated by the actions of this council, but Students guilds have also expressed grave reservations. This Local authority needs to be placed in special measures. In the mean time my friend, Your workload may well increase with thousands of new Liability orders to enforce against defaulting tenants all across this City of "low demand". The proverbial cake can only be cut in to so many slices. The greed of the LA knows no bounds.

Nick Faulkner

14:34 PM, 23rd September 2016
About 2 years ago

Obviously houses with students in are normally classed as HMOs.....landlords are responsible for paying the Council Tax on HMOs. However if we have to pay the CT rents will have to rise to put us in the same position we were in previously.
When Council Tax was brought in to replace the dreaded Poll Tax which was stirring up much unrest Michael Heseltine ( the best Prime Minister we never had) excluded students and nurses from paying. This swift move calmed the situation down for many years and I thought worked well.
But with Osborne's austerity measures all councils found themselves short of cash and the Chancellor seemed quite happy for landlords ,"roque" or otherwise, to be hit believing nobody really loves us and therefore would not care if we were penalised....so we have the Council Tax problems and the restrictions on claiming back the cost of our mortgage interest.
At the moment the rise in capital values has softened these blows but if Brexit starts to bite and the economy goes into a tailspin it is quite likely the private rented sector and buy -to-let may not look to rosy.

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