I had a busy evening with Boris Johnson and our local MP Jake Berry, after being invited to Boris’ private party in Manchester along with some clients and other local business owners this week. It produced a great opportunity to raise an issue with them that I feel very strongly about, which has affected so many of our landlord clients since April 2013. Abolishing the 100% council tax relief on empty properties has hit Darwen and Rossendale landlords hard, especially those that are in-between tenancies or refurbishing their properties. Some councils we deal with have even abolished the relief on vacant properties altogether, which definitely isn’t good for our landlords or local business as a whole.
Under the Local Government Finance Act 2012 Local Authorities were gifted (or cursed?!) with the flexibility to modify various Council Tax exemptions. Even though those with second homes and empty properties were expected to experience a 200% bill rise in 2013-14 it still went ahead, meaning that:
- Concessions removed, England waved goodbye to their 6 month exemption previously taken for granted.
- Properties in need of or undergoing crucial repairs had their 12 month concession slashed.
- If a property lays empty for 2 years your local council can now charge (at their discretion) a premium of 50% on top of full council tax.
Now it’s all very well to discourage long-term empty homes, but how are the likes of small landlords supposed to recoup these losses when they are unable to let their property because it is in need of repair? Caught in a catch-22 situation, they are unable to let the property and can’t repair it because of the council tax costs; actually reducing the homes for those in desperate need of shelter!
Or what about the troublesome stage in between tenancies? Many landlords, as well as families looking to get their next step on the property ladder, just can’t dig any deeper to find the extra money needed.
Not only are landlords suffering from this, they now have to worry about:
- Complying with the latest Section 21 Changes. Click here for more info.
- New fire and carbon monoxide laws. Click here for more info.
- Small changes to the existing Section 8 notice. Click here for more info.
- Buy to Let Wear and Tear Allowance Reform. Click here for more info.
- Right to Rent Immigrations Checks. Click here for more info.
- Welfare Reform via Universal Credit. Click here for more info.
I hope that raising these issues with Boris will bring about some sort of change, and a brighter outlook for the Lancashire buy to let and lettings market.
We have offices in East Lancashire and Central Liverpool and concentrate our services within the following areas: Darwen, Blackburn, Bolton, Accrington, and the whole of Liverpool including surrounding areas. We’re always looking to expand our territory and welcome enquiries from Landlords with property anywhere in the North West. Offering the full Rental and Property Management Package to Landlords, Councils and Tenants in the North West, you won’t be disappointed with Ainsworth Lord Estates..