What, if any impact, will the new proposed rules on Council Tax have? Will students continue to be exempt? Will Landlord's become liable?

What if any impact, will the new proposed rules on Council Tax exemptions have on students and landlords?

  • Most student tenancies commence on 1 July.  Currently Students starting a course in September might not be exempt from CT until September. However most students spend the first year in halls of residence for the first year.  Exceptions are late university applicants unable to secure uni-rooms and are invariably accommodated by private student landlords during August, prior to arriving in September.  
  • These students will normally join a preformed group of 2nd or 3rd year student housemates who originally booked during the viewing season (the previous November to January), prior to the tenancy start date of 1 July.
  • Where one student has dropped out, late applicants conveniently mop up such places. 
  • Once a three year course starts, students are presently deemed to be in continuing education entitled to continuing Council Tax exemption during summer vacations.
  • Hitherto any liability for Council Tax was the tenant’s responsibility under a landlord's tenancy agreement contract terms, so the tenants might be responsible for any payment. However, students are an exception - Council Tax for full-time continuing students meant they were exempt. Might this change?
  • Formerly, if tenants, who were otherwise liable, could demonstrate that they paid Council tax elsewhere (via parental homes) then they would not be subject to double taxation and be declared exempt. However, under the new rules each property might be required to be paid for, irrespective of any other payments by the same individuals.
  • At say £1200 per year per property, the council tax equates to say £100 per month
  • This might mean that during the vacation, over the summer two months, payment per property may attract an additional £200.
  • A landlord with say 50 properties, would see his houses add £10,000 per year to the City Council coffers. But who is footing the bill!?
  • Social housing landlords are already affected by Council Tax.
  • Student landlords may now be affected somewhat more.  Empty properties will present an additional cost for those landlords of unoccupied properties.
  • What is less clear is whether Council tax is subject to discounts during renovations rendering  properties uninhabitable.  The proposed wording seems to indicate this discount will continue.
  • CCC is obliged to offer a consultation period. This expires on 17th September 2012. To view the consulatation documents, please go to:
  • www.canterbury.gov.uk/counciltaxchanges
  • What has brought this about?
  • New Welfare Reforms and the introduction of Universal Credit via the Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • Basically the government is skint!  It can no longer support the former system of handouts. Following the second World War the introduction of the welfare system was needful and noble.  Subsequent extension and abuse has reduced such noble aims to a uniquely expensive and unaffordable burden.  Something has to give, or rather someone has to give. But who?  There are no willing contributors. This means the government must decide our fate. However, central government has passed the buck (as opposed to the pound) to local government to decide.  
  • In Canterbury this is Canterbury City Council.  Who would want to be in its shoes?  With one and a half million fewer bucks... sorry pounds, to spend on benefits there will be losers with the taxpayer the overall winner. I have yet to meet this taxpayer, but we get the point.
  • The bedroom tax is applicable to those non-downsizers with houses too big for their benefits.
  • Essentially the Government has been cornered into an empty purse, forcing the abolition of Council Tax benefit exemptions, replaced by a pragmatic system based on affordability of the tenant, but moreover, the government.
  • “Owners of second homes
  • Owners of second homes will no longer receive a discount on their council tax and will have to pay 100% of the Council Tax bill.
  • Owners of empty properties
  • Owners of empty properties that are not undergoing major structural repairs * will no longer receive a six month exemption and will have to pay 100% of the council tax bill when properties are empty and unoccupied. The 10% discount currently given to “long-term empty” properties will end.
  • Landlords will have to pay 100% council tax when their properties are empty** between tenancies.
  • *(does this mean the current exemptions remain?)  
  • **Is there a distinction between tenancy, occupation and actual occupation? How will this affect our absent students arriving in September but with tenancies starting in July? “ 
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