Harlequin Garden

Registered with Property118.com
Saturday 24th May 2014


Latest Comments

Total Number of Property118 Comments: 171

Harlequin Garden

10:45 AM, 17th February 2020
About 3 days ago

Court Case re HMO rooms being deemed to be Band A Council Tax Dwellings

The council officer has now very reluctantly agreed to recalculate the bills (so they still want to get me for something) having given them the consecutive tenancy agreements plus an email from the Valuation Officer I dealt with (argued with) with many details plus an email from a Council Tax Officer that I continued the argument with - the Valuation Office have not responded to me sadly. It'll be interesting to see what they try and bill me for now - this is endless.

I am meeting with my local MP re some local issues and I'll bring up the council tax for HMOs - as it's clearly unfair for 6 or more people to live in one property paying one council tax bill but likewise unfair for these same 6 or more to pay a full band. She is minded to take on rebanding council tax so in the unlikely (?) event she hasn't thought of this - whatever a new banding system is for HMOs it's going to be more than the cost of one - she may think on....... Read More

Harlequin Garden

11:00 AM, 5th February 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Court Case re HMO rooms being deemed to be Band A Council Tax Dwellings

I've just had a demand from the local council for council tax for a property I no longer own for the last year of my ownership - it was banded for council tax 3 years ago and whilst I argued the toss about it, it was going to happen (they threatened to backdate 7 years if I continued) and the charges passed to my tenants with me reducing rent and putting in shared wifi and a few other things to help. I paid any gaps - which were always because a tenant didn't put in the right dates but it was easier than getting the tenant to pay or to start scanning in contracts as the burden of proof is always with the Landlord. I had an issue a few months ago where I was sent a bill for unpaid CT of £450 for one of these 'units' - I contacted the tenant (I still had her details as she had moved from the property and I had sold it 6 months previously to this charge) - she had been contacted by the council and told that she had a credit of £450 for exactly the same period. I sent in various contracts (is this allowable under GPDR?) and eventually it was reduced to £25 even though there had never been a break in tenancy. I have now had a similar issue with the council requesting information for tenants (of course after they have tried to bill me first) for a variety of dates where tenancies changed - I scanned the contracts over to them but because I had referred to them as rooms back came the query 'why' so I told them it was habit as it had always been an HMO and still was in my head - so I've now been send a bill for the year up to the time I sold it for a whole house as 'the landlord is liable for the council tax for the HMO' I've told them that it was banded for council tax as separate units - they initially thought that the one room was an HMO - and after a lot of arguing the officer is insisting that I pay the council tax for the last year for the whole property as one house and when asked what happens to the council tax that the tenants have paid (as billed by the council) she said 'they will be refunded'. I have now emailed the Valuation Office for help on this - whether they will or not I've no idea, but it is the most frustrating circle to be in. I have asked my local councillor for help but he says that as I am not his constituent he won't help - the fact that the property and the tenants are in his constituency seems to have passed him by. He told me to pay the £1000 and move on.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

15:44 PM, 30th January 2020
About 3 weeks ago

holiday/short lets room size guidance?

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 29/01/2020 - 13:58
I've heard back from my local council officer and he said that there are no size guidelines - he referred me to planning so I gather there will be restrictions on that - thanks for all your comments.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

13:54 PM, 7th December 2019
About 2 months ago

Right to buy council flat - is it a good idea?

Reply to the comment left by V at 02/12/2019 - 17:55
To purchase a second property - keep this one, release equity and buy another - will incur an extra 3% stamp duty plus no tax relief on your rental mortgage and you'll have to have the mortgage on your rental on a buy to let basis - it may not bother you much if your area is not in a high value area but always something to consider.... Read More

Harlequin Garden

9:28 AM, 27th June 2019
About 8 months ago

Can I refuse viewings or photographs being taken?

I generally carry out my own viewing but in a recent tenancy change I did use agents and found that they like to deal directly with the tenant - which means calling/texting to say that they are coming which with a couple of agents engaged meant many viewings which were unsuccessful as the tenant was unhappy and obstructive (he was anyway) and had an issue about the viewings because of his own 'personal belongings' (a very large sofa and TV). It ended up pretty disastrous and carried on for a month as he'd deny access to arranged viewings. I found that the agents were very unhelpful in continuing to arrange viewings - a very vicious circle. Had there been just one or two 'good' viewings (where the prospective tenant had been allowed to relax or look out of the window) it would have gone quickly. I was also not aware for a couple of weeks that the agents were doing this, they'd arrange a viewing either do the viewing with a stroppy tenant or be denied access but not feed back to me. So my suggestion is to deal directly with the landlord and arrange certain days (and this will include early evenings) when viewings can be done. Don't be too precious about your 'personal belongings' it's the layout and size that a new tenant is looking at.

I did have one flat that was proving difficult to let - when I went around to check I found 3 guinea pigs in a long run taking up a third of the floor space things very untidy and scruffy. Once the pigs went and the place given a smarten up it went to the next viewer so if it you do present well it could avoid a long stream of viewings.... Read More