Propertymark has welcomed the government’s commitment to end the practice of council tax of banding single rooms in HMOs, potentially saving shared housing tenants around £1,000 a year each.
The current system allows rooms in some HMOs to be assessed as separate units for council tax purposes, which means tenants renting a single room can end up liable for the same council tax as would be charged for an apartment or a small house.
New legislation will be brought in before the end of 2023 to address this.
The Valuation Office Agency will work with councils to identify licensed HMOs that have tenants paying individually when they should be paying collectively and re-band those properties within two months of the legislation coming into effect.
However, Propertymark says the guidance is not sufficiently clear in some areas of its wording, and decisions are left open to the interpretation of local Valuation Office Agency offices and individual assessors.
This potentially creates a mixed picture across the country with some tenants having the potential to be banded with potential inconsistency due to a lack of overall framework.
Also limited data means it is not possible to proactively identify unlicensed houses of multiple occupations. However, the government is keen that unlicensed houses of multiple occupation that have not been aggregated are also brought into line with new legislation as soon as possible.