Since Norwich City Council changed their rules regarding council tax exemptions during void periods, this has been a thorn in the sides of Landlords and agents alike. Here, one of our Landlord clients, Patricia Bailey tells us what she did when faced with the situation and we thought it would be helpful to share it with you.......
"You don’t manage our property for us but you still send us your monthly Newsletter. I have always found it very useful and it does influence our decision to return to Martin & Co every time we need a new tenant.
I recently learnt something which I don’t remember seeing in any Newsletter. You may have published it and I missed it. In that case, I apologise for teaching Granny to suck eggs.
However, just in case ………………….
Council Tax had never been a problem for us in connection with our rental property because there was no liability for the first six months (I think that was the limit) a dwelling was unoccupied and unfurnished. Last April (2013) the rules changed bringing domestic properties in line with commercial ones. The Government abolished all mandatory discounts and gave each council the authority to decide for themselves what any discounts should be.
We have tried to clarify the position with Norwich City Council. We have, at last, had a letter from them but it is still not 100% clear. We have been told that Norwich City Council decided to allow a 100% discount for the first “month” (their word) a property is unoccupied and unfurnished. But what is a month ? We were allowed 29 days.
I have had arguments with Norwich City Council in the past over exactly who is liable on moving out or moving in day. The Revenues section always insisted to me it was the Landlord on BOTH days. This seemed very unfair but as there was no liability, we didn’t pursue it. Now it becomes more important. Not having been able to get through to Norwich Revenues on numerous occasions, I tried Fenland Council and spoke with a very helpful lady. She advised me that the NATIONAL rule is that Council Tax is charged on the person who can sleep in the house the evening of the day the keys change hands. So, the Landlord is liable on check-out day and the tenant on check-in day. Norwich City Council has no discretion on this.
I appreciate it is only a few pounds per extra day charged but how many landlords who have several properties get caught out by this ? Rhetorical question".
Thanks Patricia, This is a very useful insight and thank you, too, for your business, it is much appreciated.