Local taxation to include those who rent out property

Council tax is a tax on domestic houses/flats by local authorities and is based on the estimated value of your home and the number of people living in it. Your council tax bill includes water and waste water charges which is collected on behalf of Scottish Water.

Council tax is used to part fund services provided by the council.

Some people are exempt from paying council tax or may be entitled to a discount.

One exemption is for students, which should be the case, but there is an exemption from paying Council Tax for up to a period for four months of unoccupied properties, where the property was formerly occupied by at least one full-time student. This applies to the accommodation that Universities provide to students but also applies to landlords who buy flats to let out to students as Houses of Multiple Occupancy.

In some cases, these landlords take all they can get from their communities and their Councils. They use short term lets or “Airbnb” lets to cover the times between students or they are doing up their flats between lets. Both these cause problems when there are more than one HMO in a tenement close.

A local tax on landlords who provide accommodation in HMOs as well as Airbnb should be considered so that the services they, and their tenants use, are paid for by them instead of only by the rest of us.

Why the contribution is important

If a flat/house has residents, these residents use Council services. Rubbish collection, street lighting, roads. pavements, cycle lanes, whatever. Students should be exempt as should others. But where a person is making money (often a lot of money) from a flat or even several flats in a block and their residents use the services for that flat or block of flats, then the landlord should be paying something towards these services. These landlords run their properties as a business and if it was a shop or a restaurant or a club, they would be paying business rates so why is there no such charge put on landlords who run HMO businesses?

I understand that not all landlords who buy up flats to let out as HMOs are bad, but those I have had the misfortune to deal with are. They are the ones who regularly dump their old furnishings - carpets, beds, three piece suites, cookers, fridges etc either in the back court or in the street for the Council to uplift at the cost of all council tax payers or at the cost of all residents who share the back court. They earn a lot of money from students but they do not contribute anything to the local community for use of the services that their tenants use and which they use when their flats have no tenants. I realise that there are many landlords that pay their way but too many do not and cause problems for other home owners/residents and there would appear to be nothing we can do about it but thole it.

Time to look at local taxation for those landlords whose sole business is to accommodate students in flats throughout our towns and cities?

by MJReid on October 21, 2018 at 04:19PM

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