Landlord Council Tax on Empty Property

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    Landlord Council Tax on Empty Property

    Hi everyone,

    I am about to let my flat out in Croydon which I own, as I am moving into a rented property to be closer to work.

    I understand that as of April this year new rules require landlords to pay Council Tax regardless of whether the property is unfurnished/empty. I also understand the basis of this charge is to reduce empty homes. While I am all up for reducing empty homes, taking money from people in the form of "Council Tax" seems a somewhat misplaced way of going about it.

    I was even further surprised to receive bill indicating that, as of the date I move out, my Council Tax will in fact increase. I did have a 25% single person occupancy but this has now been taken away because there will be no one in the flat at all (it will be unfurnished and empty until I can find a tenant).

    This seems quite absurd and I am looking for some clear information about what I can try and do to affordably cope over the next few months. Paying over £150 for two separate local Council is beyond steep.

    Any comments/advice would be greatly appreciated, as would any details of relevant legislation that this new rule reflects.

    Many thanks in advance.
    ACOURT10

    #2
    If the 25% benefit on single person occupancy is really important to you, then better not to move out until you your new tenant is ready to move in. In Croydon, you should be able to find a tenant in less than one month. No point complaining about high council tax to us.

    http://www.croydon.gov.uk/contents/d...ltax-13-14.pdf

    Comment


      #3
      Gordon999,

      Where is the OP complaining to us a about high Council Tax prices? I think it's quite clear that the OP is somewhat surprised to find that the single occupancy discount (which is provided under the notion that 1-person households use fewer council services than households with more people) is removed when a house is vacant when, after all, far fewer services will be used.

      I must admit I've been surprised by this and I can't see how they can justify it. Fair enough if a property was vacant for 6 months, but to charge full CT and remove the single occupancy when the 1 person in a property moves out is taking the biscuit IMO.

      To the OP: I'm afraid I don't know what legislation governs this, but some of the other members of this forum might.

      Comment


        #4
        I thin the Council are working on the principle that if a LL can afford to let a property lie empty (whilst living elsewhere himself), he can also afford to pay the CT on it until he finds some new tenants. Fair enough, especially in London where rental properties are in great demand.

        The 25% reduction in CT for single occupants is a welfare benefit designed to help the single occupant whose home it is, not the LL who is making a profit from his investment.
        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by GillsMan View Post
          I must admit I've been surprised by this and I can't see how they can justify it.
          Because these changes are publicly aimed at encouraging houses to be occupied by removing tax breaks when they are not.

          In addition, while the council tax is used to pay for local services, it is indeed a tax and as such not linked to the level of services used. As such the argument about the level of services used is moot.
          It's like saying that one should get a deduction of his income tax because he does not use the education system at all.

          Comment


            #6
            Hmmm, I must admit I hadn't thought of it like that, and I can see what you mean there. Good point, well made.

            And while MTG points out that most LL can afford it, and while I think anything to encourage vacant property to be filled is a to be lauded, my personal opinion is that a grace period of at least 1 month between LL moving out and 1st T moving in to allow the new LL to set their business up would be a much fairer system.

            I am sure others will disagree, but that's my two cents.

            Comment


              #7
              Councils have considerable leeway to set their policies locally.

              But you must be living in the wrong place : -).

              In addition to the above, it's also an easy political hit to target the rich, evil, selfish, landlords.

              Be thankful you aren't somewhere with a mad council such as Harringay which will charge you £500 or so for a license to rent it out.

              ML
              Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

              Comment


                #8
                I'm in the process of writing a "snot-o-gram" to my local council as a result of these changes. I had my first reply back yesterday which roughly translated said "We don't care", and failed to answer any of the questions I raised - some of which you have already raised in this thread.

                My biggest gripe came from the question I put to them "Can somebody please explain the justification behind this extra money you now appear to be helping yourselves to?" to which they responded "The Government gave these powers to Councils to enable Councils to incentivise property owners to get their properties occupied, given the current housing shortage".

                I responded by telling them that as at this point I had paid £360 in Council Tax and asked how this "incentivised" me in any way to get it rented out any quicker? In fact it had the opposite effect. As I was already losing over £500 in rental income that £360 could have been used to pay for paint, plaster, repairs etc - but instead it went towards lining their pockets, and so renovating it took considerably longer than it should have.

                Furthermore their statement about "current housing shortage" is conditional. So I asked that when it is deemed there is no longer a current housing shortage, will they stop "incentivising" us by making us pay for an unjustified tax dreamed up in their boardrooms?

                And don't even get me started on 'paying Council Tax in advance'. You don't do it with your earnings (PAYE or Self employed) so where is the justification behind charging upfront for at least one calendar month, when the very next day you could have tenants move in and takeover the liability? This of course leaves you out of pocket, and them in your debt. But do they now pay the funds due within the 7 days?

                Of course not - it took them 54 days to eventually send me a cheque - which I then had to run into the bank 15 miles away at personal expense, in order to have it clear 5 working days later.

                Common thieves are known to also help themselves to your money without justification. The difference being of course, that they can be held accountable for their actions whilst the Councils are free to do whatever they like. I agree with a point made earlier - it should be one month's exemption - maybe two. The way it stands at the moment stinks - and unless people complain, write to their MPs and take action, nothing will happen and us "greedy, rich and selfish" landlords will simply just have to roll over and take it.

                Apologies, rant over :-)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by midlandslandlord View Post
                  Councils have considerable leeway to set their policies locally.

                  But you must be living in the wrong place : -).

                  In addition to the above, it's also an easy political hit to target the rich, evil, selfish, landlords.

                  Be thankful you aren't somewhere with a mad council such as Harringay which will charge you £500 or so for a license to rent it out.

                  ML
                  I thought that was only for HMO's

                  Comment


                    #10
                    JesterRIP,


                    no apology required from YOU, good points and very well made, perhaps an apology and a change of policy from someone else though .....

                    Comment

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