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Interest Rate Rise Announced by the Bank of England

Posted on September 22nd, 2022 -

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England has agreed to raise interest rates by 0.5 per cent to 2.25 per cent.

The vote was a 5-4 majority and reflects differing opinions amongst the committee – five members voted to raise base rate by 0.5 per cent; three members wanted a larger 0.75 per cent hike; and one wanted a smaller 0.25 percentage points.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s analyst, says: “Although the majority of people are on fixed rate mortgages, there’s a looming concern for those with their terms due to end over the next six months or so as interest rates continue to creep up. It’s likely that those who choose to fix again will find that rates have doubled in some cases since they last locked in, and so despite paying down some of their debt they could find their new monthly mortgage payments are higher, even if they’ve moved into a lower LTV bracket and have built up equity. They will now face the tough decision of moving to a tracker mortgage in the hope that interest rates drop again soon, or taking another fixed deal for a bit more certainty on their outgoings.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, says: “From our experience on the ground, the impact of the interest rate rise will be felt most with regard to confidence to move and take on debt. The increase will impact first-time buyers and new borrowers particularly, bearing in mind approximately 80 per cent of borrowers are on fixed rates.

“However, with UK Finance forecasting that 1.8m deals are due to end at some point next year, there will be plenty of borrowers looking for new mortgage deals at a time when rates are likely to be considerably higher. Although rates are still low compared with their historical average, the impact is exacerbated by continuing worries about inflation and the economy generally.

“The longer the climate of higher interest rates persists, the more likely it is that people will consider selling, leading to a softening in prices. However, it is worth remembering that around 50 per cent of homeowners are not dependent on mortgage finance at all so will be unaffected.”

Tomorrow the new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, will set out details of a so-called government growth plan, estimated to cost up to £150 billion. Prime Minister Liz Truss has vowed to cut taxes, including a possible stamp duty cut as well as undoing the rise in National Insurance brought in by her predecessor Boris Johnson. She has also said she would temporarily scrap green levies on energy bills, in a bid to bring down prices for consumers.

Nathan Emerson, the chief executive of Propertymark, says: “Recent rises have been so widely spoken about that this has fed directly into consumer sentiment and has left some people uneasy about moving home, but those looking to enter the market should not be spooked by this. Despite increases, the majority of buyers and sellers are taking advantage of the cooling off in house prices and the slight easing in competition, and they continue to enter a strong and healthy market.”

Article from Letting Agent Today

Energy Improvement Grants Available for Plymouth Landlords

Posted on September 21st, 2022 -

Plymouth energy community – Future Fit Programme

Future Fit is a local partnership between Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) and Plymouth City Council which has one key aim – to help our local community stay warm and save money by upgrading their homes.

Plymouth Energy Community is a charity and a social enterprise that want to make a better future for our local community, and the planet. So, by helping your tenants to have warmer homes and lower their heating costs, we’re also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and working towards climate change.

how does it work

  • We can help you to access funding from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy’s Sustainable Warmth Fund.
  • There are two elements to the funding, one for properties to the gas grid (LAD) and one for properties off the gas grid (HUG).
  • LAD funding will be able to provide up to £5,000 in grant funding with a landlord contribution of up to £2,500 equalling a £7,500 total. The contribution table can be seen below:
  • HUG funding will be able to provide up to £20,000 in grant funding with a landlord contribution of one third. So, for example, you would contribute just over £6.5k and the grant would fund the rest. The same principle as LAD (above) applies, if the measure costs less, you pay less but it will still equate to a third.
  • If you are awarded funding, we will help you to find the right installer for the job.
  • We are a registered charity, so we are not here to make money, we want to fight climate change and help Plymouth residents stay safe and warm.
  • Our approach seeks to get you a better deal and make public money go further by grouping together people who are seeking similar work and asking installers to quote for delivering the group of upgrades.

Am I eligible?

Our eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • The property has an energy performance certificate (EPC) of a D or an E for LAD (on-gas) or an E for HUG (off-gas)
  • The tenant/s have a total household income of £30,000 or below before tax. This includes any disability benefits, pensions etc


What happens Next

Organising these schemes working with multiple funding sources and different installers can get complicated, so this process helps us to keep things ordered.

  1. We will confirm that your tenant/s are eligible through evidence you/they provide
  2. The property/properties are added to a batch of homes awaiting a home assessment
  3. A retrofit assessor is sent out
  4. Once the assessment is complete, we give you a summary of the measures we would like to install and ask if you are happy to proceed
  5. We ask our trusted installers to provide quotes and let you know which quote we recommend
  6. You choose which quote you would like to go for. If you choose to go with a different quote or Trustmark registered installer, we will only fund up to the amount of our recommended quote
  7. Once you’ve chosen, you sign a grant agreement and enter into a contact where the installer will take a deposit. This could be the whole cost of the landlord contribution
  8. The grant is released by Plymouth City Council to cover the rest of the costs
  9. The installers complete the work
  10. Shortly after the installation we will contact you for feedback about the service you’ve been provided with



There are lots of ways we can help improve your property. It all depends on what your property needs and what eligibility criteria you meet. Some of the improvements we may be able to make are:

  • Insulate the walls, floors, lofts, and attic rooms
  • Rid the property of draughts
  • Install solar panels
  • Replace the off-the-grid gas heating system


PEC is acting as an advisory and support service, helping homeowners to identify experienced and competent installers who can undertake the works for them.

PEC is not acting as a broker or an agent in this process and is not procuring services on the Council or customer’s behalf.


PEC will: 

  1. Explain the scheme to applicants and advise them on eligibility (this does not include advising on any financial or legal matters)
  2. Provide whole house retrofit advice to the customer through PAS 2035 Retrofit Assessments and Retrofit Coordination.
  3. Assist the customer in identifying support needed to access measures including basic repairs, ventilation, clearance work or temporary relocation
  4. Create a database of approved installers who have been vetted for their experience with the retrofit measures in question, have all the required accreditations to undertake installation and have demonstrated a high level of commitment to excellent customer service.
  5. Undertake a fair and transparent assessment process of quotations from approved Installer Partners that relate specifically to the needs of the homeowner as specified in the PAS 2035 Retrofit Assessment.
  6. Provide details about the Installer Partner’s services to customers and make a recommendation based on the assessment of quotations
  7. Assist you as landlord to apply for grant funding from Plymouth City Council once an installer has been identified to undertake the retrofit works.
  8. Work alongside PCC (Plymouth City Council) to ensure that the installer’s terms of contract with the customer are in compliance with the conditions of the Sustainable Warmth Fund grant
  9. Appoint a Retrofit Coordinator to oversee works taking place within the property.
  10. Evaluate works taking place in the property within 60 days of installation.

For more information see the Plymouth Energy Community website; https://plymouthenergycommunity.com/

Office Closed on Monday 19 September 2022

Posted on September 16th, 2022 -

On the day of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, our offices will be closed as a mark of respect.

The office will reopen at 10am on Tuesday 20th September.


Landlord Open Event Agenda – Free to Attend – Book Your Place – Thursday 22nd September 2022 – Exeter Racecourse – 5pm

Posted on September 16th, 2022 -

Renting Minefield Energy Efficiency – The world (& the law) is changing

Wednesday 22nd September 2022
Exeter Racecourse, Haldon Hill, EX2 4DE

5.00pm – DOORS OPEN

5.00pm to 6.00pm NETWORKING

Chair: Hannah Darling (National Residential Landlords Association)

What questions should you be asking the professionals – and yourself?
Dick Scott (Monitor BCS)

Decarbonising Homes with solar PV and other technologies
Paul Rogers (National Energy Action)

7.00pm to 8.00pm NETWORKING

A Practical Illustration of a Landlord`s legal Duties, Today and Tomorrow!
Phil Keddie (Sunshine Property Consultants)

Supporting tenants through the cost of living crisis
Exeter Community Energy & Lendology CIC

Property Tax Update
Debbie Franklin, Peplows

9.00pm FINISH


There is free parking.

Register for your free place now here.

For more information please contact 01392 265833 email claire.hope@exeter.gov.uk 


Go Simple Tax Webinar – Thursday 22nd September – 11am – All Landlords Welcome

Posted on September 14th, 2022 -

GoSimpleTax: Demystifying Landlord tax and expenses when filing your tax return

Sign-up Link – https://meet.zoho.com/s00COjUzQ8

Date: Thursday 22nd September at 11am.

Description – GoSimpleTax’s in-house tax expert, Aiden Corcoran, will look to de-mystify landlord tax and expenses. Aiden will talk about…

  • Tax deductible expenses
  • What cannot be claimed as an expense
  • Common self-assessment pitfalls
  • Overview of GoSimpleTax software
  • Live Q&A session available at the end (please feel free to send your questions in advance)


Questions can be emailed in advance to leeanne.ogden@gosimpletax.co.uk


Presenter Bio



Aiden has joined the GoSimpleTax team as a Chartered Tax Advisor, sharing his wealth of knowledge via our support desk and webinars. Aiden has 8 years of tax knowledge with him and aims to help develop new services.




Gas Safety Week 2022

Posted on September 12th, 2022 -

Gas Safety Week: Fighting for a Gas Safe Nation

Landlords legal responsibilities – Annual Gas Safety Checks

We are proud to be supporting Gas Safety Week 2022, taking place 12 – 18 September.

Gas Safety Week is an annual safety week to raise awareness of gas safety and the importance of taking care of your gas appliances. It is coordinated by Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to work on gas.

Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a highly poisonous gas that can kill quickly with no warning, as you cannot see it, taste it, or smell it.

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of their tenants. Landlords must make sure maintenance and annual safety checks on gas appliances are carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer to ensure their tenants and wider communities stay safe.

If you’re a landlord, you are legally obliged to make sure:

  • Gas pipework, appliances and flues provided for tenants are maintained in a safe condition.
  • All gas appliances and flues provided for tenants’ use have an annual safety check. Your tenants can report you to the HSE if you don’t provide one, so it’s important to remember! You can set a free email and/or text reminder so you don’t forget, visit StayGasSafe.co.uk.
  • A Gas Safety Record is provided to the tenant within 28 days of completing the check or to any new tenant before they move in.
  • You keep a copy of the Gas Safety Record until two further checks have taken place.
  • Maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • All gas equipment (including any appliance left by a previous tenant) is safe or otherwise removed before re-letting.


Before any gas work is carried out always check the engineer is qualified to carry out the work that needs doing e.g., natural gas, domestic boiler. You can find this information on the Gas Safe Register website or by checking the back of the engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Encourage your tenants to also check the card when the engineer arrives at the property, and to be aware of any warning signs that their gas appliance is working incorrectly, such as dark or sooty staining, excess condensation and pilot lights which frequently blow out.


For more information and to find or check an engineer visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk.

SWLA Attending Landlord Open Event – Free to Attend – Book Your Place – Thursday 22nd September 2022 – Exeter Racecourse – 5pm

Posted on September 10th, 2022 -

Private landlords, letting agents and anyone else involved in letting property are invited to East Devon’s premier event on 22 September 2022 from 5pm at Exeter Racecourse. In partnership with Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council.

There will be exhibitions from specialist companies covering all aspects of property management and energy efficiency. As well as support businesses and organisations to help smooth the tenancy pathway. There will be a range of professionals on hand to answer your questions.

Helpful bite-size talks throughout the evening will focus on energy efficiency; accessing finance for retrofit projects; financial advice; updates on recent policy and legislation changes.

The Renting Minefield – Energy Efficiency -The World (& Law) is changing

Thursday 22nd September 2022 from 5pm Exeter Racecourse EX2 4DE

Doors open at 5.00pm for networking opportunities and refreshments. Bite-size talks start from 6.00pm.

Exeter Racecourse, Haldon, Near Exeter, EX2 4DE

There is free parking.

Register for your free place now here.

For more information please contact 01392 265833 email claire.hope@exeter.gov.uk 



General Speaker Meeting – Tuesday 18th October 2022 – 7.30pm – Future Inn Plymouth

Posted on September 10th, 2022 -


Speakers will include:-

Stella Goodman – Director of Excaliber Associates:

Rate rises? Recession? What does this mean for the BTL lending market?

Sue Pope – Fire Safety Consultant at Health & Safety Matters:

Fire Safety: Landlords, are you compliant?





No Concession for Student Landlords Under Tenancy Reform Plans

Posted on September 10th, 2022 -

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) has dismissed concerns from HMO student landlords that its plans to bring in periodic tenancies will damage the sector.

Under the proposals, students will be able to give two months’ notice at any time, making finding a replacement very difficult. Students will also be able to remain in the property after the end of the academic year as there will be no fixed term.

In its response, the DLUHC explains that while it expects most students to continue to move in line with the academic year, some might face circumstances beyond their control and will need to vacate a property early, or could be locked into contracts for poor quality housing.

A department spokesman says: “Some students have families, local roots, live with non-students, or have other reasons why they may wish to remain in the property. We do not think it would be fair to apply different rules to students who often require the same level of security as other tenants, or face poor standards within the private rented sector. Therefore, all students who are renting a private home will have periodic tenancies, providing the same certainty as all other tenants will enjoy.”

It adds that it is fair to exclude purpose-built student accommodation landlords who have joined government approved codes of practice from the new regime as these codes set, “vigorous standards for the safety of student accommodation, the management of the property and the relationship between managers and student tenants”.

SWLA hope that this decision within the Rental Reform is rethought, so that students and landlords can continue to secure their next academic year’s tenancies early and have some certainty with their accommodation/letting plans.

Article Abridged from Landlord Zone

Adjusted Right to Rent Checks End on 30 September 2022

Posted on September 10th, 2022 -

The system allowing Adjusted checks (using Zoom calls and copies of documents for example), ends on 30 September 2022.

From 1 October 2022, agents and landlords responsible for tenancy applications and repeat Right to Rent checks will need to revisit their processes in readiness either for a return to manual face-to-face checks (which will still be permitted where someone shows eligible identification as a UK and Irish citizen) or be signed up to one of the proptech service providers certified by the UK Government as a digital identity service provider (IDSP). Checks on overseas nationals will need to be processed using the Home Office’s share code system which can be accessed by agents and landlords, free of charge.

Adjusted checks were introduced as part of COVID-19 measures to reduce face-to-face contact and were extended while the Home Office worked to introduce a robust digital solution for checks on UK and Irish nationals. Once Adjusted Right to Rent checks end, where a landlord wants to offer a digital check to those with UK and Irish ID, the landlord will need to be signed up to an IDSP incurring a chargeable service. Alternatively, landlords will be able to offer manual, face-to-face checks where the applicant offers eligible UK or Irish ID. Where landlords do choose to utilise an IDSP, they must make allowance for British and Irish nationals who choose for their identity to be verified offline and must not discriminate on this basis.

Digital checks on overseas nationals can be conducted simply and without incurring external costs using a digital share code and date of birth provided by the applicant and checked via the real-time Home Office system.

Follow up Right to Rent checks remain as important as ever

If landlords have been unable to obtain the repeat Right to Rent check for an overseas national during a tenancy, the Home Office should be notified in order that the landlord establishes a ‘Statutory Excuse’ which will provide the legal audit trail against any overstayer and/or a civil penalty.

Note – the date on which adjusted Right to Rent checks ends may be pushed back – it has been before! If there are any changes to this date – we will keep members informed.

Article Abridged from Propertmark

For in depth Right to Rent Guides and information, see the gov.uk website;

Landlord’s guide to right to rent checks

Check your tenant’s right to rent


How You’ll Receive the £400 Energy Bill Rebate from your Supplier

Posted on September 9th, 2022 -

Monthly direct debit users. Will see the grant paid automatically by your supplier – either refunded straight into your bank account, or in the form of a direct debit reduction.

Standard credit customers. This includes those who pay by cash, card or cheque after receiving a monthly or quarterly bill. You’ll get the payment automatically – all suppliers will pay this in the first week of each month between October 2022 and March 2023. It’ll typically be added as credit to your energy account.

Smart prepayment meter customers. You’ll get the grant automatically as credit applied directly to your meter in the first week of each month. However, one concern is that credit is typically paid towards your electricity use, not your gas. Bulb, for example, is making the credit transferable, but we want more suppliers to follow suit and it’s an issue we’ll push on.

Traditional prepayment meter customers. Ensure your supplier has up-to-date contact details for you as your money will be sent as six separate vouchers via text, email or post – which you’ll need to redeem by topping up as normal in a shop or post office. You’ll have three months to redeem each voucher – and if you lose them or they expire, they can only be reissued up until 31 March 2023.

Article Abridged by MSE

SA800 Partnership Tax Returns – key facts you should know

Posted on September 9th, 2022 -

Article By GoSimpleTax

Going into business with a partner or partners can offer many benefits. You can gain from other people’s talent, ideas, knowledge, skill, contacts and cash, just as they can gain from yours. You can also share the workload, risk and responsibilities, while avoiding feelings of isolation that can happen when running a business on your own.

The UK has some 384,000 ordinary business partnerships, which is about 7% of the total business population. And whether it’s friends, family, partners, spouses or colleagues, many people continue to start and run a business with partners.

Moreover, in recent years, more people are forming partnerships with others to buy and rent out properties they own as private landlords. There can certainly be many advantages to this, whether that’s linked to tax or simply sharing responsibility and risk.

Members of ordinary business partnerships and those who rent out property through a partnership report taxable income via the SA800 Partnerships Tax Return.

In this guide we explain:

What the SA800 is.

  • Who is responsible for completing and filing it.
  • Supplementary pages you may have to submit with your SA800.
  • SA800 Partnership Tax Return filing deadlines and late-filing penalties.
  • When and how you must pay your tax bill.

What is an SA800”?

 An SA800 Partnership Tax Return (usually shortened to “Partnership Tax Return”) is the tax return that members of ordinary partnerships must complete and file to tell HMRC about the partnership’s income and “disposals of chargeable assets” (ie selling an asset).

As explained by HMRC in its guidance notes: “Every partnership gets the first eight pages of the Partnership Tax Return covering income from trades and professions, and interest or alternative finance receipts from banks, building societies or deposit takers. There are other ‘supplementary’ pages covering the less common types of income and disposals of chargeable assets.”

  • On pages 6 and 7, the SA800 Partnership Tax Return includes a Partnership Statement, which is where profits, losses or income allocated to the partners are summarised. There are two types of Partnership Statement:
  • A short version for partnerships with trading or professional income only, or interest or alternative finance receipts from banks, building societies or other deposit takers.
  • A full version SA800(PS) covering all types of partnership income.
  • The short Partnership Statement caters for up to three partners, while the full Partnership Statement caters for up to six.
  • You must also fill in the Partnership Trading pages (pages 2 to 5 of the SA800 Partnership Tax Return) if, at any time in the tax year, the partnership carried out a trade or profession. Some partnerships may need to fill in more than one set of Partnership Trading pages.

Need to know! In addition to the main SA800 tax return, each partner must also file a personal tax return (SA100) and the SA104 supplementary pages to declare their share of any profit or loss. Submitting the SA100 and the SA104 determines how much tax, if any, individual partners must pay. Often this gets missed and results in partners being fined by HMRC. A separate page must be completed for each partnership someone belongs to.


How to register a business partnership

You must register your partnership for Self Assessment with HMRC if you’re the ‘nominated partner’ (the partner responsible for tax and filing the partnership tax return).

You must register before 5 October in your business partnership’s second tax year, otherwise there could be a penalty to pay. The other partners must register themselves separately as a partner. You won’t be able to file an SA800 Partnership Tax Return or a tax return for yourself unless you’re registered.

  • Visit government website GOV.uk to register your new partnership.
  • If you can’t register online, you can also register using form SA400(form SA401to register as a partner), which can be posted to HMRC.


SA800 Partnership Tax Return supplementary pages

Some types of income are taxed differently when earned through a partnership, for example, rental income or income earned from outside of the UK. You must tell HMRC about these in the SA800 and then provide details in supplementary pages. Such sources of income and the supplementary pages used to report them include:

  • Self Assessment: Partnership Statement (full) (SA800(PS))

You use supplementary pages SA800(PS) to declare earnings from sources that aren’t trading/professional income.

  • Self Assessment: Partnership Trading and Professional Income (SA800)(TP)

You use supplementary pages SA800(TP) to record income from more than one trade or profession on your SA800 Partnership Tax Return.

  • Self Assessment: Partnership UK property (SA801)

You use supplementary pages SA801 to record UK property income on your SA800 Partnership Tax Return.

  • Self Assessment: Partnership Foreign (SA802)

You use supplementary pages SA802 to complete your SA800 Partnership Tax Return if your partnership generated income from outside of the UK.

  • Self Assessment: Partnership disposal of chargeable assets (SA803)

You use supplementary pages SA803 to complete your SA800 Partnership Tax Return if your partnership “disposed of any chargeable assets” (eg stocks, shares, land and buildings, business assets such as goodwill, etc).

  • Self Assessment: Partnership savings and investments and other income (SA804)

You use supplementary pages SA804 to record savings, investments and other income on your SA800 Partnership Tax Return.


Responsibility for filling out and filing an SA800 

By law, the partner nominated by the other partnership members must complete the SA800 Partnership Tax Return and either send it by post to HMRC or file it online using commercial filing software.

The nominated partner is usually chosen when the partnership is set up, but HMRC can choose someone if no one has been selected. If an SA800 Partnership Tax Return has been issued by HMRC in the name of a specific partner, they’re required by law to complete and file it.

Need to know! When reporting profit or loss, the split must accord with the terms of the partnership agreement. In most cases the share is the same for each partner, although it’s not always the case.

How to file your SA800 Partnership Tax Return

  • You can send your completed SA800 Partnership Tax Return and any supplementary pages by post to HMRC.
  • Alternatively, most people file their completed SA800 Partnership Tax Return and any supplementary pages online, but you need to buy commercial software to do this. Government website GOV.uk lists commercial tax return software suppliers.

SA800 Partnership Tax Return filing deadlines

  • If you file a paper SA800 Partnership Tax Return, you have until midnight 31 October following the end of tax year (5 April) to which the information refers.
  • If you file your SA800 Partnership Tax Return online, you have until midnight on 31 January following the end of tax year (5 April) to which the information refers.

 SA800 Partnership Tax Return late-filing penalties

If you don’t file your SA800 Partnership Tax Return before the paper or online deadline, whichever one you choose, each member of the partnership during the tax return period must pay a £100 penalty, unless you have a valid reason for being late.

If the partners still fail to file their SA800, each partner will be charged:

  • More than three months late – a penalty of £10 per additional day the SA800 Partnership Tax Return is late up to a maximum of 90 days (£900).
  • More than six months late – a fixed penalty of £300.
  • More than 12 months late – a further fixed penalty of £300.

Need to know! You must complete the Partnership Tax Return in full. If you have a disability that makes filling in the return difficult HMRC can help you complete the form.


What happens after HMRC receives your SA800?

After receiving it, HMRC will process your Partnership Tax Return using the figures you have entered. If there are any obvious mistakes, HMRC will correct them and let you know. HMRC may also contact you if it has any queries over the figures you’ve entered.

HMRC has 12 months from the date of filing to check your SA800 Partnership Tax Return and any supplementary pages. It can ask you to provide accounting figures from which you took the figures you entered in the tax return. These can also be checked against your bank account figures.

All partnership members are responsible for the accuracy of their SA800 Partnership Tax Return. The partnership should retain records of all its business transactions. You must keep these for at least six years and show them to HMRC on request.


SA800: tax payment deadlines

The deadlines for paying your tax bill are:

  • 31 January for tax you owe for the previous tax year (called a “balancing payment”) and your first payment on account (ie advance payments towards your tax bill) then
  • 31 July for your second payment on account.


About GoSimpleTax

Income, Expenses and tax submission all in one. GoSimpleTax will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.

Our software submits directly to HMRC and is the digital solution for Landlords to record income, expenses and file their self-assessment giving hints on savings along the way.

Covering all self-assessment pages, not just property, GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you.


Council Tax Explained….

Posted on September 8th, 2022 -

Working out your Council Tax

You’ll need to know 3 things:

You may be able to get Council Tax Reduction (this used to be called Council Tax Benefit) if you’re on a low income or get benefits.

You can challenge your Council Tax band if you think your home is in the wrong valuation band.

Changes that may affect your Council Tax band

Your property may be put in a different band in some circumstances, for example if:

  • you demolish part of your property and do not rebuild it
  • you alter your property to create 2 or more self-contained units, for example an annexe – each unit will have its own band
  • you split a single property into self-contained flats
  • you convert flats into a single property
  • you start or stop working from home
  • the previous owner made changes to your property
  • there are significant changes to your local area, like a new road being built
  • a similar property in your area has its Council Tax band changed

Ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) if you want to know if changes to your property will affect your Council Tax band.

Who has to pay

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax if you’re 18 or over.

A full Council Tax bill is based on at least 2 adults living in a home. Spouses and partners who live together are jointly responsible for paying the bill.

Who is not counted (‘disregarded’)

Some people are not counted (‘disregarded’) when working out how many people live in a property. This means you might be able to apply for a discount on your Council Tax bill if you get one.

You’re disregarded if you’re:

  • under 18 years old
  • on certain apprentice schemes
  • 18 or 19 years old and in full-time education
  • a full-time student at college or university
  • under 25 years old and get funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • a student nurse
  • a foreign language assistant registered with the British Council
  • severely mentally impaired
  • a live-in carer for someone who is not your partner, spouse, or child under 18
  • a diplomat

Apply for a discount or exemption

You need to apply for a Council Tax discount or an exemption, even if you’re disregarded.

You’ll get 50% off your bill if everyone living in your household is disregarded.

You’ll get 25% off your bill if you pay Council Tax and either:

  • you live on your own
  • everyone else in your home is disregarded

Contact your local council if you’re unsure about whether you can get a discount or who’s responsible for paying.

People on apprentice schemes

To show that you do not qualify as an adult for Council Tax, you’ll need a declaration from your employer stating that:

  • you will not be paid more than £195 a week
  • the training leads to a qualification accredited by a body recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) or the Scottish Vocational Education Council (SVEC)

If you get a Council Tax discount by mistake

You must contact your local council. If you do not, you could get a fine.

The council may ask you to pay back the discount.

Discounts for full-time students

Households where everyone’s a full-time student do not have to pay Council Tax. If you do get a bill, you can apply for an exemption.

To count as a full-time student, your course must:

  • last at least 1 year
  • involve at least 21 hours study per week

If you study for a qualification up to A level and you’re under 20, your course must:

  • last at least 3 months
  • involve at least 12 hours study per week

You’ll get a Council Tax bill if there’s someone in your household who’s not a full-time student, but your household might still qualify for a discount.

Discounts for disabled people

You might be able to apply for a Council Tax discount or exemption if you or someone you live with is disabled.

Disabled Band Reduction Scheme

You may be eligible for the scheme if you live in a larger property than you would need if you or another occupant were not disabled.

If you qualify, your bill will be reduced to the next lowest Council Tax band. For example, if your property is in Band D, you’ll pay the Band C rate. If your home is already in the lowest band (Band A), you’ll get a 17% discount on your Council Tax bill instead.

You’ll have to show that you have either:

  • an extra bathroom, kitchen or other room that you need for the disabled person
  • extra space inside the property for using a wheelchair

The property must be the main home of at least 1 disabled person. This can be an adult or a child – it does not have to be the person responsible for paying the Council Tax.

How to apply

Check if you qualify for the Disabled Band Reduction Scheme.

Discounts for severely mentally impaired people

You might be able to apply for a discount on your Council Tax bill if you or someone you live with is severely mentally impaired.

You’ll need to:

  • get a certificate to say you’re severely mentally impaired from a medical professional, such as your GP
  • prove your eligibility for certain benefits – check with your local council

If you qualify as severely mentally impaired

You’ll get a 100% discount if you qualify as severely mentally impaired and one of the following applies:

  • you live on your own
  • any other adults in your household either qualify as severely mentally impaired or are full-time students

There’ll be a 50% discount on the council tax bill if everyone else in your household is ‘disregarded’.

If you live with someone who is severely mentally impaired

You’ll get a 25% discount if you live with someone who qualifies as severely mentally impaired and either:

  • there are no other adults in your household
  • everyone else in your home is disregarded

Second homes and empty properties

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax on a property you own or rent that’s not your main home, such as holiday homes.

Your council can decide to give you a discount – it’s up to them how much you can get. Contact your council to ask about a discount.

Empty properties

You’ll usually have to pay Council Tax on an empty home, but your council can decide to give you a discount – the amount is up to them. Contact your council to ask about a discount.

If your home has been empty for 2 years or more

You can be charged an extra amount of Council Tax (a ‘premium’) if your home has been empty for 2 years or more.

How much you pay will depend on how long the property has been empty. You can be charged up to 4 times your normal Council Tax bill if your home has been empty for 10 years or more.

You will not have to pay the empty home premium if either:

  • the empty property is an annex
  • you’re in the armed forces and you have to move into armed forces accommodation as part of your work

The rules are different in Scotland.

When you do not pay Council Tax

If you’re selling a property on behalf of an owner who’s died, you do not need to pay Council Tax until after you get probate as long as the property remains empty. After probate is granted, you may be able to get a Council Tax exemption for another 6 months if the property is both:

  • unoccupied
  • still owned and in the name of the person who died

Some homes do not get a Council Tax bill for as long as they stay empty. They include homes:

  • of someone in prison (except for not paying a fine or Council Tax)
  • of someone who’s moved into a care home or hospital
  • that have been repossessed
  • that cannot be lived in by law, for example if they’re derelict
  • that are empty because they’ve been compulsory purchased and will be demolished

You may get a discount if your home is undergoing major repair work or structural changes, for example your walls are being rebuilt.

If your property’s been refurbished

Your council will tell you when you have to start paying Council Tax if you’ve been carrying out major home improvements on an empty property or building a new property.

You’ll get a ‘completion notice’ that tells you the date you must start paying Council Tax.

If your property’s derelict

Your property’s only considered derelict if it:

  • is not possible to live in it, for example because it’s been damaged by weather, rot or vandalism
  • would need major structural works to make it ‘wind and watertight’ again

You can challenge your Council Tax band if you think a derelict property should be removed from the Council Tax valuation list.

Paying your bill

Your Council Tax bill tells you:

  • how much you have to pay for the year
  • how that amount has been worked out
  • the dates you have to pay

The cost is usually split into 10 monthly payments. Contact your local council immediately if you’re having trouble paying – they can help you, for example by spreading your payments over 12 months instead of 10.

The council can take action to reclaim any debts you owe if you get behind with your payments.

Ways to pay

You can usually pay your Council Tax online.

You can also use ‘Paypoint’, ‘Payzone’ or ‘Quickcards’ for cash payments at post offices, banks, newsagents and convenience stores.

Check your bill to find out which other payment methods you can use.

If you’ve overpaid

Contact your local council if you’ve paid too much Council Tax and have not received an automatic refund.

Get the Council Tax rebate

Local councils in England are paying £150 to households in Council Tax band A to D.

Most people have now been paid.

Who can get it

You get £150 per household if you paid Council Tax on your main home on 1 April 2022 and it’s in Council Tax band A, B, C or D. Check your Council Tax band.

Some households who do not have to pay Council Tax can still get the £150. This includes:

  • students
  • under 18s
  • people with a severe mental impairment
  • anyone with an annexe where a dependent relative is living

If you receive Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Local Council Tax Support) or a Council Tax discount, you will also get the rebate.

When you’ll get the money

Councils started making payments in April 2022 and will be paying the rebate until 30 September 2022.

How the money will be paid

If you pay by Direct Debit, most councils will pay the £150 directly into your bank account.

If you do not pay your Council Tax bill by Direct Debit, you may need to make a claim. If you have not been told how to do this, contact your local council.

Some councils will credit your Council Tax account or give you vouchers.

If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales

Help with Council Tax payments is also available in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Contact your local council or check their website for more information.

Get more help with your Council Tax bill

Your local council may be able to give you more money, even if you’ve already been paid the £150. Contact your local council for more information.



For more information see; How Council Tax works: Working out your Council Tax – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector: consultation. Have your say.

Posted on September 7th, 2022 -

This consultation seeks views on the introduction and enforcement of a Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector in England.

This consultation closes at

Consultation description

On 16 June 2022, the Government published A fairer private rented sector – a landmark white paper for the private rented sector – which sets out this government’s commitment to introduce a legally binding Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector for the first time.

This will improve parity with the social rented sector where there has been a decent homes standard in place since 2001. The system will also be fairer for good landlords by making sure those who do not treat their tenants fairly are no longer able to get away with it, tarnishing the reputation of the sector as a whole.

The Government have undertaken a range of stakeholder engagement in the last 3 months, running a number of in-depth discussions with key organisations on how we apply a Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector. This consultation builds on that engagement and seeks further views on how to apply and enforce the standard in the private rented sector where it is not already being met. We encourage members to send their views and feedback on the proposals and questions contained in this consultation.


Ways to respond

For further information see; A Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector: consultation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

1/2 Day Legal Update Course 4th October 2022

Posted on September 2nd, 2022 -

½ Day Landlord Training Course – Legal Update 2022

Tuesday 4th October 2022 – 1:30pm – 4:30pm

Venue – Online

If you are accredited this will count towards your CPD hours, but the course is open to all.

Cost for SWLA members – £35 – Cost for non-SWLA members – £40

 Course will cover 

  1. Right to Rent changes
  2. Update on Section 8 and Section 21 Notices
  3. Material Information
  4. Fire Safety Act
  5. New smoke and carbon monoxide regulations
  6. Rent repayment orders
  7. New regulations 

Places secured upon receipt of payment, book your place through the office 01752 510913.

Course will be instructed by Stephen Fowler from Training for Professionals.

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