HASTINGS Borough Council’s decision to reduce the council tax exemption period for unoccupied properties from six months to just one month is at best unwise, and at worst could risk compromising standards of rental property in Hastings.
While I agree that we need to encourage property owners to ensure their properties are in use, there are in fact times when landlords and property owners need to make use of void periods, for example, in order to conduct energy improvements such as those under the Green Deal or to make major adjustments so that properties can be let to disabled tenants.
In addition, routine repair and redecoration, the process of marketing, selecting tenants and referencing can take well in excess of 30 days. It is unwise to rush landlords through these processes.
Instead of requiring landlords to pay council tax after 30 days, the National Landlords Association proposes that a three-month council tax exemption period would be more suitable.
This would allow landlords and property owners to ensure their properties are in the best condition for prospective tenants. This approach has been successfully adopted by several councils, including South Norfolk.
It would appear Hastings Borough Council has not thought this through. But there is a better option, and I hope, even at this late stage, it will reconsider.
National Landlords Association (NLA) Director
NLA Local Representative for East Sussex