Student Council tax exemption – Proof required?

by Readers Question

16:38 PM, 5th December 2018
About A week ago

Student Council tax exemption – Proof required?

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Student Council tax exemption – Proof required?

Portsmouth Council are bugging me for details of my student tenants’ courses and student status. They claim I have to provide this as I am liable for the council tax.

I can do no more than provide them with the names of the tenant who are clearly ignoring the council’s request for information and proof of student status.

Where do I stand?

Many thanks

Alan



Comments

Paul Shears

20:39 PM, 5th December 2018
About A week ago

I'm afraid that you are paying a small price for seeking an income stream from the dumb & irresponsible.
Don't worry. This does not stop with you. I have been in a similar situation although no students were involved. Just give the council the information that they request and back off. They will want to know the names & contact details of those involved and when each person moved in. As you have a contract with these people, it is they who will incur further inconvenience.
From my own previous experience, this can drag on for over a year! But this is certainly not your problem unless the council incorrectly try to make it so.
If the council still come after you, which I doubt, just send them a copy of the contract.
In my own case a quick phone call to the council tax people followed up with the required information by Email, will cause them to believe, quite rightly, that you are not responsible for the council tax.
It's totally unreasonable for the council to expect to provide the course details but you might try referring them to the University. I doubt if the University will cooperate however.
Even if you happen to know the course details, this could get you into some sort of data protection issues, but I doubt it in practice.
It's most likely that the students simply cannot be bothered or that any communication from the council remains on a shelf unopened or even thrown away.

Monty Bodkin

9:29 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Ring up one of your tenants and ask what course they are doing.
Ask them what course their house mates are doing.
Tell the council.
Job done.

"What course are you doing" should be a bread and butter question already asked by any student landlord.

Freda Blogs

10:21 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

I have only ever been asked to provide the names of the students, which the Council then cross references against the list they have (presumably) been provided with by the University. Simple.
Sounds a very arduous and long winded way of doing things if your Council is checking with every landlord. Maybe one or more of your 'students' isn't an FT student and a liability for CT does arise, but is not your liability if you have an AST in place.

Dancinglandlord

10:28 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Dumb and irresponsible you may see your tenants as, I guess we were all young once and our CHOSEN profession and target market does come with its own peculiarities. I do collect this data but have never been asked for it and I do get frustrated by the constant stream of seemingly pointless admin that we now have to do. No doubt a jobsworth somewhere in the council has some axe to grind. But I'm very grateful to be in this business and to have my tenants. So like Monty says, sometimes its easier to just do whatever needs doing and move on. If only I could follow my own advice!

Sara Hammerton

10:39 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

You may find students need a little guidance. Council post is often addressed to the 'The Occupiers' - generally in my experience no-one opens those and they very rarely inform the council who is in the house. Ask your students to forward their 'Certificate of Full Time Student Status' to you- forward that the the council - job done! Ensure the next students you sign up you give you all the necessary details. If you leave it to the students you will get a bill.

Richard Peeters

10:42 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Hi Alan, the local Uni most probably produces a standard certificate for all students that is acceptable and familiar to the local authority. If the Uni doesn't automatically issue them, then they will do so on request of the student (not the landlord). The student then sends this to the LA. However, you cannot always rely on the students to ask for the certificates, nor to submit them to the LA, so belt-and-braces is to get the students provide you with a copy just for occasions like you face now. Call the Uni's student union or housing office to be sure of their specific process.
The whole purpose is to complete the paper trail that the LA needs to get the central Govt to fund the grant that reimburses the LA for the "generosity" of not charging full-time students for council tax.
After all, the LA still has to collect waste (typically LOTS more than from average households) from student houses even if they don't pay council tax, and those grants from central Govt cover that gap. No evidence for the LA to submit to central Govt, then no grants for those students, and so the LA needs someone to pay for waste collection etc.
At least, that's how it works in our patch.

Nick Faulkner

10:44 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 06/12/2018 - 10:21
What on earth are you moaning about? The council has to collect Council Tax and students get an exemption but the landlord is responsible for the CT on an HMO and most student houses are HMOs. Therefore if you want not to pay it is up to you to provide evidence in the correct form that they are students ...you need to see ,copy and supply to the council and "Exemption Certificate"
If they are genuine students they will have one or their college will provide one if the student asks for it (it is unlikely the college will provide one to the landlord directly). Gone are the days when you could tell the council it is a "Student House" and they would accept it. Our local council charge us CT up to the beginning of the term and from the day the course ends. If you have one tenant in the house who is not a student they are charged the full amount for the house less 25% two non-students and the full amount is charged. We get no exemption for voids and County Court summons for delays in payments while we are waiting for the student/agent or college to sort out the Exemption Certificates.
You have had it easy but all good things come to an end when dealing with cash -strapped councils.

Yvette Newbury

10:52 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Kent County Council have a great system whereby you provide the student ID number and their name to the council tax section and they do the rest. I wish some of the London boroughs would adopt this system to avoid the confusion caused when I have to explain to our overseas student tenants that they are liable to pay the council tax, but the liability will be zero if they supply the council with an exemption letter from their University.

Fen Jen

10:55 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Well tell the students that unless they respond they will have to pay the council tax and you will put the rent up accordingly. Or if they don't like it they can move out. I cant see why you are letting yourself be bothered with this situation. It is the students responsibility to claim exemption from council tax not yours. I always just give a rent that includes the council tax and pay it myself.

Whiteskifreak Surrey

10:57 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

We tell out students who rent from us, that this is their responsibility to notify the council about their student status, otherwise they will be responsible for paying tax. This provision is also in the AST. So far it has been working. They are of course exempt from paying the CT.

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