MP Bids to Stop HMO Council Tax Scandal

A change to the law could see HMO landlords and renters save on their council tax bills.

Currently, the Valuation Office can split shared houses in multiple occupation into individual rooms, with each renter paying council tax.

Called ‘disaggregation’, the policy can leave renters paying up to an extra £1,000 a year in council tax, while landlords must make up the shortfall for empty rooms.

Now, Dame Caroline Dinenage is trying to end the controversial measure with an amendment to the Local Government Finance Act 1992.

She wants lawmakers to redefine the law so council tax is levied on an HMO, not individual tenants.

Redefining self-contained rooms in HMOs

The amendment seeks to stop the Valuation Office from raising council tax from tenants living in rooms that:

  • Do not have self-contained cooking facilities or a bathroom when the renter has a tenancy agreement
  • Do not have self-contained cooking facilities but has a bathroom when the renter has a tenancy agreement
  • Are part of a licensed HMO
  • Are not self-contained rooms, regardless of the occupier’s right to live there

The bill is at the report stage in the House of Commons.

Landlords must pass on energy support payments

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Climate Graham Stuart has confirmed landlords must pass energy price support payments to tenants.

In response to a written question from Liverpool Labour MP Kim Johnson, he said: 

“The Energy Prices Act 2022 contains a provision requiring intermediaries to pass on energy price support to end users. Further detail will be set out in regulations and guidance in due course. However, the requirement will be retrospective, meaning landlords will be required to pass on payments from October onwards.”

Who is Dame Caroline Dinenage?

Dame Caroline Dinenage - or Lady Lancaster of Kimbolton - is Tory MP for Gosport, Hampshire.

She has held the seat since 2020.

Dinenage has served as a cabinet minister six times under three prime ministers, the last as Digital and Culture Minister between February 2020 and September 2021 under Boris Johnson.

Dinenage, aged 51, is the daughter of children’s TV personality Fred Dinenage. She has married twice and has two children.

What is the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill?

The Levelling Up and Regeneration BIll is an effort by the government to give local councils and communities money and tools to improve their areas.

What is the Valuation Office?

The Valuation Office Agency is the arm of the government that gives other official bodies and councils surveying services and property valuations.

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