A campaign to stop the reclassification of rooms in HMOs to single homes has won a major victory by getting the Government to investigate stopping such reclassifications.
A reclassification increases a council’s income but burdens tenants with considerable extra expense if the tenant pays the council tax directly or because rents inclusive of bills are raised to absorb the increased council tax costs.
LandlordZone reports that fifty plus councils around the UK have requested reclassifications from the Valuation Office Agency and in particular Portsmouth Council.
Conservative MPs Penny Mordaunt and Caroline Dinenage, both of whom have constituencies with significant number of HMOs, have been putting pressure on Ministers to prevent reclassifications.
And success may soon follow. In a statement to the House of Commons, Dehenna Davison, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DLUHC, stated that a consultation will be launched that will “look at situations where individual tenants can, in certain circumstances, be landed with their own council tax bill and will consider whether the valuation process needs to change.”
“Our clear intention is for HMOs to be classed as single dwellings, other than in exceptional circumstances.”
If the consultation does stop reclassifications, then the changes will be part of the Government’s Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.
Landlord Daryn Brewer from the Council Tax Reform Group that has been lobbying MPs on the issue stated “We are delighted to hear that the government is taking this issue seriously and that landlords and tenants have been listened to about the concerns of Council Tax being charged on bedrooms within HMOs.”