Legislation Effective December 1, 2023

1. What criteria determine which HMOs this Council Tax rebanding applies to?

  • The rebanding applies to HMOs defined under the 2004 Housing Act as groups of three or more unrelated people sharing facilities in a building.

2. How will licensed and unlicensed HMOs be treated differently in the rebanding process?

  • Licensed HMOs (five or more people sharing facilities) will be automatically rebanded by the local authority from December 1, 2023. Unlicensed HMOs may need to submit a proposal for rebanding after the legislation change, expected before the end of 2023.

3. Can you provide more details on the automatic rebanding process for licensed HMOs?

  • The local authority will identify licensed HMOs from their database and apply a single banding to them automatically from December 1, 2023.

4. Is there any action required for landlords of licensed HMOs during this rebanding process?

  • Landlords of licensed HMOs do not need to take any action. The local authority will work with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to identify and reband licensed HMOs.

5. What about unlicensed HMOs? How can landlords or tenants initiate the rebanding process for these properties?

  • Landlords or tenants of unlicensed HMOs may submit a proposal to reband their property after the legislation change, expected before the end of 2023.

6. Will the rebanding result in new Council Tax bands, and how will the banding be determined?

  • No new Council Tax bands will be created. The rebanding will be based on the property's value as of 1991, adhering to the existing bands at that time.

7. Can the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) apply a higher band during the rebanding process?

  • The VOA can only reband the property based on its value in 1991. No new bands will be introduced.

8. If a property was originally a lower band before disaggregation, can it be rebanded to a higher band after reaggregation?

  • There may be cases where reaggregation results in a higher band, potentially due to property extensions or changes. However, the process is based on the property's value in 1991.

9. Is there any indication of confusion or potential appeals in cases of rebanding from licensed HMOs?

  • Potential confusion or appeals may arise if there is a change in band from before disaggregation to after reaggregation. The VOA may consider factors like property extensions in such cases.

10. Can I increase rent twice in a twelve-month period due to HMO re-aggregation, as specified in my AST?

  • While you have flexibility in setting terms in your AST, it's advisable to ensure that the terms align with standard practices and regulations. The Landlord and Tenant Act governs certain aspects of tenancy agreements, and it's recommended to review the specific wording in your AST with legal counsel to confirm compliance.

11. What legal considerations should I keep in mind when including a rent review clause in my AST?

  • Rent review clauses should be carefully drafted to comply with relevant laws. Ensure clarity and fairness in the terms, and consult legal advice to confirm that they align with tenancy legislation.

12. How should I handle rent reviews in light of potential Council Tax rebanding for HMOs?

  • It's crucial to communicate openly with tenants about rent reviews, especially when linked to Council Tax changes. Consider providing information on the reasons behind any adjustments, ensuring transparency and understanding between you and your tenants.

13. Can I make rent adjustments due to Council Tax changes without violating tenancy laws?

  • While you have the right to adjust rent as agreed in the AST, it's essential to ensure that any changes comply with tenancy legislation. Consulting with legal professionals can help you navigate the complexities of rent adjustments.

14. What should I do if I have arrears or backdated Council Tax issues related to my HMO?

  • Addressing arrears and backdated Council Tax may require a strategic approach. Consult with professionals, consider negotiating with local authorities, and stay informed about potential relief or resolution options.

15. Is there ongoing support for HMO landlords beyond the Council Tax rebanding changes?

  • The HMO community remains active in addressing various challenges. Stay connected to online forums, participate in discussions, and consider joining advocacy groups to stay informed about ongoing issues and potential solutions.

16. How can I stay updated on developments related to HMO legislation and challenges?

  • Joining online communities, attending industry events, and regularly checking authoritative sources can help you stay updated on HMO-related developments. Engaging with professionals and advocacy groups can also provide valuable insights.

Remember, legal advice tailored to your specific situation is essential when dealing with tenancy agreements, rent reviews, and Council Tax issues.

17. What is the proposed solution involving a new six-month AST with a one-month notice period?

  • The suggestion is to offer a brand new six-month Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement to all tenants with a one-month notice period. This proposal aims to address issues related to rent reviews and changes in responsibilities for council tax.

18.  How does this new AST differ from the current agreements?

  • The new AST would not involve rent reviews, and it allows both landlords and tenants to give one month's notice at any time. This approach is seen as a potential solution to adapt to current challenges and provide more flexibility for both parties.

19. What is the idea behind forming a trade body or trade group?

  • The group is considering evolving into a trade body or trade group, possibly named the HMO Reform Group. This could involve collaboration with larger organisations and providing a platform for landlords to address common concerns and challenges together.

20. Are there potential membership fees for joining the trade body?

  • The group is exploring the idea of membership fees for the trade body. The participants express interest in making it affordable and are seeking feedback from the community on how much they would be willing to pay for such membership.

21. What is the current status of backdated issues related to council tax?

  • The discussion acknowledges the need to address backdated issues faced by landlords and tenants. The group is committed to working on this aspect and finding resolutions.

22. How can landlords stay updated on the group's activities?

  • Landlords can join the Facebook group named "HMOs and Council Tax" with a big red logo. Additionally, they can visit the group's website and subscribe to the mailing list for regular updates.

23. Is there an upcoming celebration event?

  • Yes, the group is planning a celebration event to thank members for their efforts and achievements. There's a discussion about the event's location, timing, and whether it should be in Birmingham, London, or both.

24. What are the next steps for the HMO Council Tax Reform Group?

  • The group is seeking input from the community on other issues related to HMOs that they would like the group to address. They are open to suggestions and want to continue working together to achieve common goals.

25. How can landlords contribute to the group's efforts?

  • Landlords can actively participate in discussions, share their concerns, and provide feedback on proposed solutions. Joining the Facebook group and subscribing to the mailing list are practical ways to stay engaged and informed.