The local authority in Islington, north London, is attempting to close what it calls a loophole concerning private rental property and council tax.
There are more than 4,000 student flats in accommodation blocks in Islington. In the past, this type of accommodation was given a block council tax exemption throughout the year, as students do not pay council tax.
However, the council claims that increasingly landlords let these student flats over the summer holidays, when students are away, to tourists and other visitors, in order to maximise income.
Because students are not living in the flats at this time, the flats are liable for council tax. As an example, it says that if 1,000 such flats are rented out for the 10 weeks of the summer break, the council tax due is £121,250.
To close this loophole, Islington council now requires landlords to supply the tenancy and student occupancy details for every flat for every week of the year. They will be liable for council tax for any periods during the year when flats are occupied by people other than students.
“At a time when Islington faces ongoing cuts to its budgets from central government, it isn’t fair that landlords have effectively been getting a tax break on renting their flats out over the summer. Closing this loophole means that the correct levels of council tax are collected, which is fairer for all our residents and helps to pay for local services in Islington and London” says a council spokesman.
Islington is one of the first local authorities in the country to take action to close this loophole.