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Call for landlords to lobby MPs over HMO council tax

A lettings network is urging landlords to back a campaign to abolish council tax re-banding for shared houses.

Platinum Property Partners says that for some time, the Valuation Office Agency has had discretionary powers to charge council tax per room as opposed to per property, making bills around four times more expensive for many landlords, in turn triggering rent rises.

An amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has been tabled by Tory MP Caroline Dineage seeks to reverse such measures and ensure HMOs are consistently classed as a single household for council tax purposes.

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The Valuation Office Agency has been applying council tax to bedrooms that are not self-contained spaces. This ultimately makes each bedroom a separate dwelling, resulting in the tenant being liable for council tax on a bedroom. This disproportionately affects young, hardworking individuals who are now required to pay council tax on a property which doesn’t fit the criteria” says Dineage.

“My amendment seeks to change the definition of a dwelling to include self-containment, so that we can prevent the imposition of council tax individually on tenants of a room in a house with shared facilities.”

PPP says over 200 of its landlords are already in the process of penning requests for support and a common sense approach from their own local MPs, and now the landlord network is asking other landlords to get on board for maximum impact.

Emma Hayes, managing director of PPP, says: “The time has come again for HMO landlords to stand together and strive for positive change in the private rented sector. Although HMOs have been at risk of council tax re-banding since the early 1990s, the actual occurrence has remained low, until now. With increasing requests from councils to re-band properties, it’s crucial we get the measures reversed so that landlords can continue to provide high quality affordable accommodation to their housemates.

“To put the impact into context, one particular HMO in the PPP network that was classed as a single dwelling in Band D had a monthly council tax bill of £1,223.77 in 2017/18. 

“Following a re-band to six individual units in Band A, the monthly bill rose by 200 per cent to £3,671.29, including a 25 per cent single occupancy discount.

“It’s a significant difference and prevents landlords from being able to provide tenants with an affordable rental bill that is often inclusive of bills. The administration is also an added management strain on landlords, who have to notify the council every time a tenant changes, and we are hearing reports that councils continue to chase old tenants for payment, even when the landlords are often authorised at third party payers.

“If individual rooms are suddenly billed as a separate units for council tax purposes, tenants will undoubtedly see their rents increased or no longer benefit from the level of financial certainty of having one all-inclusive monthly housing cost.”

PPP now wants HMO landlords to contact their local MPs to back the amendment. 

A template has been prepared for landlords to use - you can see it here.

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    Council’s are biggest cause of unaffordable Rents for Tenants with this type of carry on including HMO licensing, but they pretend to be Tenants friends while doing most damage to them. They have to divide us to be able to conquer its working well,

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    This is legalised theft!

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    Councils making the lowest cost rental properties more expensive with nothing given for the extra cost.

    Scandalous!

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    I can see the reasoning, that HMO's generate a lot more rubbish etc, but we do still have a property based system, with all its flaws. So if a property has more than one occupant that doesn't increase the council tax payable.
    They tried an occupancy based system called community charge (so called poll tax) which didn't work out too well.
    You can't really mix the 2 systems.

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    Could all new tenancy agreements for HMOs make the room council tax the responsibility of the tenant, the council would likely find it difficult to collect the tax and would also have to supply each room with a wheelie bin, next step is pre pay electric meters for each room, a room in an HMO would soon become very expensive

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    I agree, being a large HMO landlord, all the council are doing is pushing up the cost of housing for those in shared housing for no identifiable benefit to the tenant just lining their own pockets and building their empires.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    Well exactly Jim councils think they are hitting the landlord whereas in fact they are hitting the tenant many of which councils would identify as '' vulnerable ''

     
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    Andrew I suspect if they band a room it will be one household one Contract on the room and the Tenant will be responsible but expect £120. approx reduction in your rent, no one is made of money can someone convey this to the Government

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    Yes Michael there will always be those that cannot afford it, but won't that be the council's problem

     
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    That’s pm obviously

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    I guess each room would have a separate postal address?

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    And the postie would have to enter the property to deliver to each door, another reason for them to strike

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    John. yes as per HMO ie, front room right, front room left , back room middle room right, back room right. back room left and so on as viewed from Road as per floor.. all I need now is post code hmmm…

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    So glad I got rid of my HMO's. My tolerance for this sort of nonsense is rock bottom. I admire all of you that stick with it, as you clearly provide much needed homes for so many that would otherwise have to stay living with parents or be homeless. And students of course.

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    I've always steered well clear of HMOs for those very reasons, red mist.

     
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