I may have to sell after Council Tax reassessment increase of £100pm per room?

I may have to sell after Council Tax reassessment increase of £100pm per room?

11:30 AM, 27th March 2017, About 5 years ago 42

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I have 5 large properties in Aberdeen which I let out room by room to long and short term professionals.

I pay the council tax bill and all utilities and then charge the tenant a flat monthly rent.

However, I’ve just been informed by the Grampian Assessors office, that EACH BEDROOM will now be classed as an individual property entered on the valuation roll even though the rooms are not self contained (the showers/kitchens are shared) and as a result will be all subject to Band A council tax.

This means and extra £100 per month per room costs. I have 40 rooms!

Unfortunately, the market wont stand a rent rise of £100 per month per room (the average rent I charge is £425) and I can’t carry that amount so I’ll probably have to sell up.

It seems a bit strange that the Valuation roll will be changed to show 40 properties which clearly there are only 5.

Isn’t this a huge distortion of any city’s valuation roll?

Is there any other landlord facing the same situation?

Many thanks

Karen



Comments

by Tobias Nightingale

10:12 AM, 1st April 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Appalled Landlord" at "31/03/2017 - 19:18":

If there is any consolation 'Appalled Landlord' Liverpool council (among others) asked for the power to do the same thing in Feb 2016 and again in September, so they probably (I hope) wont do this. Plus department for local goverment the official line is they value HMO's as they home less affluent renters. Further as far Sec 24 goes that indeed is a hammer blow, but is being phased in over years, rates would be a overnight blow which would have immediate consequences. Lastly I understand the Canterbury issue , is they know they won't get rates but if they hope by pushing for that they will get council tax that currently is not paid cuz its let to students.

by Colin McNulty

22:14 PM, 2nd April 2017, About 5 years ago

FYI this is the internal manual for the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) for when and when not to band a HMO by the room. "Disaggregation" they call it:

http://manuals.voa.gov.uk/corporate/publications/Manuals/CouncilTaxManual/council_tax_man_pn/ct-man-pn6.html

by Jireh Homes

10:47 AM, 6th April 2017, About 5 years ago

Hi Colin - thanks for posting the link to the VOA document, which covers England & Wales. Do you have a link to the similar document covering Scotland? Allan

by David Gibbens

10:45 AM, 10th April 2017, About 5 years ago

As regards England (I am not sure about Scotland, but this section of the manual does not specify that it is for England only), the relevant section of the Valuation Office Manual on disaggregation would appear to be:
http://manuals.voa.gov.uk/corporate/publications/Manuals/CouncilTaxManual/council_tax_man_pn/ct-man-pn5.html#P73_796
In particular, see http://manuals.voa.gov.uk/corporate/publications/Manuals/CouncilTaxManual/council_tax_man_pn/ct-man-pn5.html#P242_23463
It would seem very open to challenge if you have basic facilities shared, particularly kitchen facilities.

What is not clear from the manual is whether the rooms could somehow be considered separate hereditaments under the 1967 Rating Act - but that part of the manual is expressly for England. (See http://manuals.voa.gov.uk/corporate/publications/Manuals/CouncilTaxManual/council_tax_man_pn/c-ct-man-pn1.html )
So you do need a Scottish perspective on this in case the rules work differently there.

If this is a widespread new approach and generating appeals there ought to be case law emerging from tribunal decisions.

by

18:56 PM, 11th April 2017, About 5 years ago

The general basis of valuation for council tax is similar across E,W and S.

There is case law going back as far as 1949 - John Laing & Sons - which the Valuation Office use when they band rooms individually when they are not otherwise self contained. I'd be very surprised is the Scottish Assessors use a different case to do so.

John Laing & Sons was a ratings case usually used for business rates but there are cases of it being used to deem a room as a dwelling for council tax - based on the 4 aspects raised in the case a rateable property had actual, beneficial, exclusive and non-too transient occupation.
Where that is applied to a room them the room becomes a dwelling and is banded whilst it continues to meet the criteria (the banding needs looked at again in the situation was to change).

Once a room has been deemed to be a dwelling the usual council tax rules apply in respect of that dwelling when determining liability for it.

Craig

by Tobias Nightingale

18:57 PM, 13th April 2017, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "CouncilTaxGuy " at "11/04/2017 - 18:56":

Hi Counciltaxguy,
As you seem to be an expert. The question I pose to you is the same as I asked Robert, if retroactively said LL switched to a joint tenancy would you do away with the banding issue, or is this just effective to prevent such a banding occurring?

by

20:40 PM, 13th April 2017, About 5 years ago

Until such point as any change took place the current banding assessment would be valid.

The banding however though, where it is made purely on the basis of the rateable occupation (as outlined in my last post), should be looked at again if that situation changes.

A joint tenancy on the whole property should end the individual assessment and put each property back to one as far as banding is concerned - the banding can be somewhat fluid and changes, where needed, to meet the set-up of the property (bands are not set in stone).

That being said, the assessors are always within their rights to come to a different conclusion, and require it to be taken to appeal.

by Karen

16:06 PM, 21st May 2017, About 4 years ago

Hello and thank you to all who contributed to my thread. I have an update.
I employed a solicitor and a surveyor who specialises in rates assessments who challenged grampian assessors.
The assessor has now had a complete change of mind and will now not be issuing each bedroom with individual council tax - whole house council tax to be paid by me will now apply. A good result.
The down side is that the professional fees are costing me a small fortune - but better in the long run.
Cheers!

by Colin McNulty

21:23 PM, 21st May 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Karen McKee" at "21/05/2017 - 16:06":

Thanks for that update Karen, what a great result for you!

Can you summarise the argument the solicitor used please and how he approached the case?

Also, I'm sure he won't mind if you post his details up here. The reason I'm suggesting that is I'm possibly about to go through this ordeal and having a solicitor experienced in the process would be very useful.


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