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

Yvonne Francis

11:19 AM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

I do not know why you are finding this a problem. I give the council every year the names and tenancy dates of my student tenants and they send a letter to them addressed directly to them and certainly not addressed to 'the occupier'. I always make it clear to tenants when I sign them on, that they have to deal with this and obtain certificates or whatever proof is required from their University as only they can do it anyway. I also have a clause in the lease which makes them liable for any Council Tax which could be levied on the house.

Is your student house on a shared tenancy or are they all on separate agreements let as bedsits?. If they are let as bedsits then you as a landlord would be liable any way. Most student houses are on a shared tenancy so if that is the case with yours, it would be best to just give the Council their names and dates of their tenancy and leave it at that. You do not say what is in your lease but I thought it standard practise that Council Tax was paid by tenants anyway.

Jireh Homes

13:37 PM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Alan - you need to clarify if your situation is a HMO or "single let" as this affects who is responsible for Council Tax. For my "single lets" I simply advise the Council of who has moved into (and out) of the property and the lease clear that tenants have responsibility to pay (along with utility bills etc.) or claim exemption.

Yvonne Francis

14:49 PM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Jireh Homes at 06/12/2018 - 13:37
I hope I have not interpreted your posting but being a HMO does not make the landlord necessarily liable for Council Tax. If you are a HMO then being liable relies on the way you let. If you let as a shared or joint tenancy landlords are not liable but if you let rooms on separate tenancies for each room, even though you have shared communal areas, the landlord becomes liable and usually accounts for it in the rent.

Alan Bromley

15:15 PM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Thank you all for your comments. The flat is just a 2-bed flat, not in a student block, for which the tenants have an AST. The council has been provided with the names of the two students but they have sent me a form requesting course start/end dates and student ID numbers. I'm not sure if they have sent the same form to the tenants. Despite asking the letting agent to contact the students to ask them to provide this information, the students have clearly not done so and the letting agent says that it is their responsibility to do so. The email from Portsmouth Council says:

"As you are the liable party of the account it is your responsibility to provide any information requested in relation to it. Without the information requested we are unable to verify that you remain eligible to claim the Class N exemption, and thus failure to provide may result in its removal."

I am not sure what happens if the tenants refuse to provide this information and leave the UK without having done do. I am unclear of the consequences.

Claire Smith

15:24 PM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Alan Bromley at 06/12/2018 - 15:15
Students often need reminding several times to provide their I.D. numbers, but as we have a clause in the contract making any council tax their responsibility, they have provided it in the end. We were told by Hull council that for a house with 4 students we had to pay the council tax when one student gave up his course. After a few attempts to claim he had changed courses, he did finally reimburse us for the CT.

Yvonne Francis

18:00 PM, 6th December 2018
About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Alan Bromley at 06/12/2018 - 15:15
If I was in this situation I would ring the council. I find them only too pleased to have the information and I have found them very helpful when small problems have arisen. They will deal with this directly with your tenants so giving them names and dates of tenancy is important information. If the students do not reply then the council will bill them and if they do not pay they will be in court in no time. I think in the circumstances you supplied you are not responsible in any way. I do not think the tenants will leave without paying as councils are so quick off the mark and if they do then that's the councils loss. I am sure your tenants will cooperate if they can be classed as exempt rather than go through all the problems of legal action. If your tenants are in their first year or their last, council tax can be levied on them for the time of the tenancy they have not started or finished their course. This once happened to me but this was all between the council and my tenants. I advised my tenants to keep arguing and the council backed down.

Sue Marven

3:48 AM, 7th December 2018
About 7 days ago

I too have a student property in Portsmouth. The council need move in dates for each tenant along with their student number. For the past 6 years I’ve had no issue when I’ve supplied this info.

Fiona Cooke

10:56 AM, 8th December 2018
About 6 days ago

I manage 30 student properties in Portsmouth. My understanding is that when the property is empty, and if it is not a joint tenancy, the Landlord is liable for the council tax, but as the tenants are students they qualify for an exemption.... so the onus is on you to provide the information. I ask for student numbers when they complete their paperwork/tenancy agreement and email this to the council along with names and move in dates. The council can cross reference the Uni database for the other information they need. A bill is then sent to me for the council tax due for the empty summer period. In this instance just ask your tenants for their student numbers and give their move in date. We also have a clause in our contracts stating that the tenants are liable for any council tax due during their tenancy. This is important as with final year students the council can charge for the period between their course end date, which is end of May, and their tenancy end date. They stop being students as soon as their course ends, and you will be billed!

Roy B

13:11 PM, 8th December 2018
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Dancinglandlord at 06/12/2018 - 10:28
May I just point out that the "Dumb and Irresposible" comment was not the posters comment?

Judith Wordsworth

18:47 PM, 10th December 2018
About 3 days ago

The University will provide the tenant with their Student "Exemption Certificate" as a pdf and they can forward it to you to send on to the Council. It states the date of the start of their course and end date.

Just ask your tenant to obtain one.

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