As a landlord, you do need to consider the issues of an empty property. Specifically, we’re talking about paying council tax and the recent surcharge that is aimed at landlords with empty properties.
Thankfully, there is a way to avoid paying tax while a property is empty. But first, let’s consider what tax you could be expected to pay for your empty property.
What Are You Expected To Pay?
With 2017, it was reported that there were at least 200,000 empty properties across the UK.
These properties are worth £40 billion in total. That same year, Philip Hammond announced plans to get these properties filled, encouraging owners to either let or sell.
The 100% council tax premium for empty properties is a massive issue for landlords and property owners.
The premium means that councils and local authority can charge double what they could previously for empty homes and houses.
As such, landlords with empty properties will be paying double what they should be in council tax.
But it’s not just landlords that are feeling the squeeze. Many people have empty properties that are largely empty.
How can these individuals avoid paying a massive council tax bill each month?
Let It Out
If you haven’t already considered this, you might want to think about letting out the property.
With management companies, this can be a completely off hand experience where it doesn’t eat away into your private time or cause you any stress at all.
You’ll also be able to avoid some of the most expensive tax issues and ensure that you are getting an extra income as well.
Know The Exceptions
You might find that local authorities are keen to get you to pay even if your property is not technically empty.
First, you need to be aware of the definition of an empty property. You might have left your home ‘substantially furnished.’
If that’s the case, then it is not empty, and therefore you are not chained into paying the surcharge.
As well as this, the property may have been empty for less than two years, and if that’s the case, it is not considered empty at all.
This is great news for landlords letting out to tenants and leaving them empty over the summer months.
There are various other exemptions to be aware of as well. For instance, the original occupier of the property could be in prison, in the armed forces or living in a care home.
In any of these situations, council tax does not need to be paid.
Council tax is controlled by the local council tax office. As such, it is worth contacting them to find out whether you are liable for council tax for your empty property.
You might find that you are entitled to some sort of discount depending on your situation. While this won’t wipe out the council tax completely, it will make it a lot easier to pay.
Indeed, it is possible for councils to give property owners a discount that allows them to pay absolutely nothing.
This is determined on a case by case basis.
We hope you find this information useful when looking for ways to avoid council tax on an empty property.
You’ve got a smartphone, but have you got a smart home? If you’ve haven’t tapped into the growing trend of AI yet, it’s time to discover what awaits you if you choose to live in this wonderful world.
Artificial intelligence in the home
If you’re not already conversing with an electronic device on a daily basis, there’s every chance that it’ll only be a matter of time until you cross to the AI side its also a great addition to any property refurbishment project.
You only have to turn the TV on or browse a few websites on your phone or tablet to see or hear adverts for appliances that promise to make your life easier.
Take Alexa, part of Amazon’s Echo range, as an example. Launched in 2014, Alexa is a virtual assistant, which can do everything from playing songs to telling you the time and the weather forecast. Sales of Alexa hit 2.5 million in the first quarter of 2018, and this wasn’t even the most popular smart speaker. Google Home sold 3.1 million units in the same time period. The chart below shows the dramatic rise in popularity of voice speakers and home assistants in recent years.
Artificial intelligence is not just designed to eliminate mundane tasks and make life less stressful for humans.
It can also play a role in helping you do your bit for the planet. With many of us keen to go green, inventions such as smart thermostats are an excellent addition to the home. AI can track your usage and analyse your habits to regulate your heating systems, reduce bills and adapt your home environment.
The Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation device, for example, uses data related to your location to ascertain when there’s nobody at home and shut off the heating system.
It also uses this intelligence to activate home security systems, so you can kill two birds with one stone. You’re not only reducing the risk of wasting energy and overspending on electricity. You’re also keeping your home safe.
You can make your home even smarter by connecting different AI devices. A Nest thermostat, for example, can work with a Google Home device.
On the subject of security, another device that is making waves in the AI marketplace is the doorbell camera and associated front door security systems.
In years gone by, most of us relied on an alarm, which produced piercing noises, to protect our homes. Today, using sophisticated AI, we can monitor our driveways on the go.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re on the train or at the office, if there’s somebody lurking around your front door, you’ll be able to see them and even talk to them. You can connect devices to smartphone apps and keep an eye on your property 24 hours a day.
It is estimated that more than 22% of burglars access properties through the front door, so investing in smart technology could reduce your risk of theft significantly.
If you haven’t joined the AI revolution yet, maybe it’s time to check out what’s out there and start enjoying the benefits of smart living.
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