The Government has launched its promised consultation on its plans to reform the way HMO properties are valued for council tax.
If enacted as proposed, this will ensure that all HMO properties within England are banded as one property and have one council tax band, other than in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Ministers at the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are seeking the views of landlords on the proposals, which include several options that would force the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to consider an HMO to be a ‘single dwelling’.
This aims to redress a problem highlighted by LandlordZONE last year by several MPs and leading landlords who protested over Portsmouth City Council’s policy of asking the VOA to reassess HMOs for council tax in such a way as to attract a band for each individual room.
This is designed to help councils like Portsmouth’s raise more funds via their council tax as their central funding has been cut. Last year the city warned of a £6.8 million ‘black hole’ within its budget.
But it is not alone in doing this and campaigners say some 50 councils across England have used or are considering using HMO council tax re-valuations.
Rebanded Back in October last year leading HMO landlord Darryn Brewer revealed to LandlordZONE how 68 of his bedrooms had been re-banded in Portsmouth as individual properties which would rake in an extra £72,000 a year for the council.
The Government is now seeking to remedy this situation and says it wants to “provide greater certainty and consistency in the way that accommodation in the HMO sector is banded for council tax, and to ensure that HMOs are banded as one property and have one council tax band, other than in exceptional circumstances”.
Examples of such exemptions would include when an HMO includes self-contained accommodation, the consultation says.
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