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HiMO valuation issue

JP
Jonathan Pheasant, modified 3 Months ago.

HiMO valuation issue

Advocate Posts: 151 Join Date: 23/05/11 Recent Posts

Not directly a planning issue but related. I have just become aware that the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) seems to have changed the way that some shared accommodation is valued for Council tax calculations.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understand-how-council-tax-bands-are-assessed#banding-of-houses-in-multiple-occupation

This looks quite radical and means that some rooms in HMOs could be valued separately and require Ctax to be paid for each separate room rather than apply the Council Tax to the whole 'dwelling'. I guess this is going to be very difficult for the VOA to identify and determine the valuation status of these places. and really difficult for local authority Council Tax officers to contact residents and apply Ctax bills.

My first thought was that these residents don't have separate addresses to apply the tax to, just a room in a house/building. There will be one address with people sharing and having their own room, irrespective of what is in that room. There will probably be a lot of turnover of people as is the nature with HMOs and many residents may be entitled to exemption. It could also I guess relieve the landlord of their Council Tax obligations and put it onto the residents instead. Making cheap accommodation even more difficult to afford. 

I think one key issue here is that it says that where a room in a HMO has its own kitchen OR (or is important) bathing facility, it will then have it's own valuation applied to it. So it will effectively become a separate Council Taxable unit.

In Planning terms, I think a room in a shared house would be part of one single HMO 'dwelling' unless the room had BOTH cooking AND bathing facilities in which case it would become a separate planning 'dwelling' and could contribute toward housing requirements as a dwelling unit. 

I'm not sure what is behind this but it looks to me like in some cases it's going to hit people in need and let landlords off the hook with paying Council Tax.