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Landlords Say Paying Council Tax On Empty Properties Is Unfair

Landlords Say Paying Council Tax On Empty Properties Is Unfair

NLA Campaigns For Landlord Council Tax Exemptions

Currently, the liability of private rented sector landlords to pay council tax for their unoccupied rental properties varies from region to region across the UK. Some local councils do not allow exceptions from their normal rules and even if a rental property is unoccupied, the landlord must pay council tax.

This does not even begin to become fair in any way, shape or form as the rental properties are not financially draining council funds, nor are they a burden on any other council run services as bins are not being emptied and there should be no need for any of the emergency services to be called upon.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) have recently been contacting all UK local authorities to request council tax exemptions for private rental sector landlords whose rental properties become empty between tenancies.

The task is being carried out by the NLA’s 37 regional representatives who operate across the UK in order to campaign at a local level.

Many local authorities will soon to be drafting their budget proposals for the next financial year, and the NLA are keen to negotiate the much needed council tax exemptions for landlords now.

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Council Tax Changes Costs Landlords

Council Tax Changes Costs Landlords

As of 1st April 2013, all UK local authorities will have the discretion to charge the full Council Tax due on any empty properties within their borough. This is bad news for landlords as this will include any empty private sector rental properties.

The changes are designed to increase local authority revenues and will affect properties that until now had been granted automatic exemption or discounts, including furnished and unfurnished properties in the private rented sector (PRS).

Properties that would previously have been exempt including those that are empty because of necessary building work also lose the automatic right to be let off Council Tax for up to a year.

Numerous local authorities have decided to charge the full amount of Council Tax from the outset. The important changes to Council Tax charges are detailed below:

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Council Tax Exemption For Landlords To Be Abolished in 2013

Council Tax Exemption For Landlords To Be Abolished in 2013

Thanks to the Government welfare reforms and austerity measures the rules for Council Tax exemption on empty rental properties will soon be abolished.

From the 1st April 2013 new legislation being proposed by the government means that landlords will become solely responsible for the Council Tax on all void rental properties.

Some local authorities, such as Durham, have already jumped the gun and have begun charging landlords the full Council Tax amount for any property that is currently untenanted, leaving many landlords confused and severley out of pocket.

If the new legislation is still at the proposal stage and is not yet law, why are some local authorities allowed to do this?

I happen to own several properties around the North East of England and have been billed for void periods over the last 6 months even if a property was empty for only a couple of weeks.

Durham are wrongly charging the full council tax on all empty rental properties despite the fact that no council run services are being used.

I have contacted Durham borough council and attemted to argue the toss and following lengthy discussions I was eventually told by an advisor to complete a form to apply for Council Tax exemption for any property that I had been charged for, however, the local authority in Durham flatly refused to post a form out to me and insisted that I get the managing agent to request one.

The only way that landlords can affect change is to use the current legislation set by Government against any greedy local authority and point blank refute any charge made against them especially if the charge is unwarranted.

Information taken from the Gov.uk website…

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home.

If you count as an adult for Council Tax and live on your own, you’ll get 25% off your bill.

You’ll also get a discount if you live with people who don’t count as adults for Council Tax.

These people are not counted as adults for Council Tax purposes:

  • children under 18
  • people on apprentice schemes
  • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education
  • full-time college and university students
  • young people under 25 who get funding from the Skills Funding Agency or Young People’s Learning Agency
  • student nurses
  • foreign language assistants registered with the British Council
  • people with a severe mental disability
  • live-in carers who look after someone who isn’t their partner, spouse or child
  • diplomats

To work out if you should get a Council Tax discount:

  1. Count the number of adults who live in your home as their main home.
  2. Discount anyone in the list above.
  3. If you’re left with 1 person who counts as an adult, your Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25%.
  4. If you’re left with no-one who counts as an adult, your bill will be reduced by 50%.

If there’s no discount listed and you think you should get one, write to your council.

The council has 2 months to respond. If you disagree with the council’s decision or don’t hear back within this time, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal.

Mortgage approvals, residential property sales and first time buyer numbers increase

Is the UK property market making a comeback?

January figures from a variety of trusted and respected sources offer a major boost for the UK property market as mortgage approvals, first time buyer numbers and residential property sales all increased during January.

Data gathered from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), British Bankers’ Association (BBA), National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is viewed as a major boost to the UK property market.

UK property buyers have been taking advantage of the two-year stamp duty exemption due to end in March 2012, with the number of First-Time Buyers (FTB’s) registering with estate agents also being the highest since May 2011.

The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) say that, 38,092 applications were approved in January, 34% up on the same time last year, and the highest figure seen in two years.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) figures show that 23% of overall property sales in January were made to First-Time Buyers, a rise from 21% in December, marking the third consecutive monthly increase.

Mortgage lenders have claimed that one of the driving forces behind the increase in activity has been the imminent end of the two-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported that the £10.5 Billion (GBP) loaned in the form of mortgages during January 2012 was the sixth month in a row that the year-on-year figure has risen, and overall mortgage lending in January was up 10% on a year ago.

Despite general consumer caution around borrowing, first-time buyers have flocked to get on the property ladder, showing stamp duty was a major deterrant.

NAEA President, Wendy Evans-Scott, said: “The figures suggest that stamp duty is a key factor for those on tight budgets who are considering a property investment”.

Overall residential sales across the UK property market increased from 5% per branch in December to 6% in January.

The number of residential properties sold in the UK was 12,000 up on January 2011 and also at its highest level for four years.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures showed that a total of 64,000 property transactions went through during January, up on the 52,000 deals in January 2011 and the best start to a year since 2008’s tally of 79,000.

David Dooks, BBA statistics director, said: “January saw the high street banks approve more mortgages for house purchase than of late, despite low household confidence, as some people try to complete transactions before the stamp duty holiday ends in March.”

All in all, this is great news for the UK property market and a warning sign to property investors that they are no longer the only people buying property.

The UK’s Council of Mortgage Lenders have warned that the UK property market could be plunged further into turmoil if the Government starts making first-time buyers pay stamp duty again.

At present, first-time buyers are exempt from paying tax on legal documents, such as the deeds to a house, if they pay less than £250,000 for the property.

However, this concession is due to expire next March, prompting concern from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), who revealed that sales of homes that would have been exempted slumped when a similar concession ended in December 2009.

The body feels that a similar fall in house price purchase could occur if the Government does not extend the exemption, further adversely affecting already teetering confidence in the housing market.

CML Director General, Paul Smee, said: “The CML believes it would be a mistake to pull the plug on the concession – at least until the housing market returns to a firmer footing.”

Its stance is seemingly reinforced by the fact that 87% of revenue generated by stamp duty comes from homes which cost more than £250,000

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