Despite the poll tax being publicly rejected nearly 30 years ago, the Valuation Office Agency is re-introducing it through the backdoor by imposing individual Council Tax bills on bedrooms in shared houses, according to a new campaign group, called the HMO and Council Tax Lobby Group.
The Group says that in thousands of cases up and down the country, tenants are learning with dismay that their bedroom in their shared house is being listed for council tax, and they are now responsible for the bill.
Generally, when converting a residential property into a shared house (known as a House of Multiple Occupation or HMO), the council tax banding remains the same as previously. The number of dwellings has not increased - it is still one property but with several rentable bedrooms.
Over the last few years, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), responsible for determining council tax listings, has started to impose council tax on individual bedrooms. This has meant that council tax bills have increased by the number of bedrooms in the house causing many landlords to sell up or leave the market altogether.
Jon McLelland, a landlord from Barnsley who has a four-bed HMO, said: “My HMO is not even licensed, yet the VOA has decided to re-band each room individually for council tax. This leaves me with a dilemma: do I pick up the bill and make little profit, or do I pass this onto my tenants and risk losing them? Other local landlords have not had this happen to them, so I feel I am being unfairly discriminated against.