Council Tax & Student Houses - What landlords need to know! Some local landlords have been taken to Court recently because they didn’t make proper checks that their student tenants qualified for exemptions from Council Tax. As a landlord, you need to be aware of the law and understand that… • The owner of an HMO will always be the liable person for council tax and not the residents. If all the tenants are students, the landlord can claim an exemption. • The exemption will apply if all the occupiers are either: o Students – either full time students or those undertaking a qualifying course of education or a foreign language assistant o School or college leavers – a person aged 18 or 19 who leaves school or college between 1st May and 31st October in any year. If they have become a student by 1st November the exemption will continue, if not council tax will become payable. o Certain spouses or dependants of students – this prevents liability arising where a student lives with a non-student, non-British, spouse or dependant who is prevented by the terms of their entry visa to the UK from taking paid employment or claiming benefits. • Student status must be confirmed by providing a copy of a student certificate for the fist year of the exemption or an enrolment card for following years. This must be provided by the university or college upon request. • The certificate must include: o Name and address of the university issuing the certificate o The full name of the person to whom it is issued o The student’s date of birth o A statement certifying that the person is or has followed a full time course of education o The date when the person became a student and the date when the course is expected to end or has ended • The exemption can continue during any vacation if retainers are paid and proof is provided of this. • In RCT, we carry out a review of all student dwellings in October/November of each year. • If the review form is not fully completed and proof of student status isn’t provided, the exemption will be removed and a council tax demand notice will be issued to the owner of the property. • Owners and residents of exempt properties are under a statutory duty to notify the council if there is a change, which will affect entitlement to the exemption. Failure to do so can lead to a penalty of up to £200. • The owner or resident should inform the council within 21 days if the property ceases to be exempt • Appeals against the refusal to grant an exemption must be made to the council stating the grounds of the appeal. Further appeals can be made to the Valuation Tribunal. If you want advise on Council Tax, please contact the Helpline on Tel: 01443 681081.
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